WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives passed legislation aimed at improving the efficiency of the federal lands grazing permit process.
The Grazing Improvement Act, among other activities, increases the term for grazing permits and leases for livestock grazing on public lands to 20 years from 10 years. The bill also excludes the renewal, reissuance or transfer of a grazing permit or lease from the requirement to prepare an environmental analysis. Trade groups supported the House action and encouraged US Senators to pass the bill.
“This bill reduces bureaucratic red tape and limits the potential for costly, excessive lawsuits,” said Joe Guild, chairman of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's federal lands committee. “The radical environmental groups trying to demagogue this important legislation realize that improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public lands management reduces their opportunities to drive their anti-grazing agenda through process-based lawsuits.”
“This legislation extends the life of grazing permits from 10 to 20 years and provides greater certainty to ranchers by codifying annual, bipartisan appropriations language that allows for permit renewal despite the regulatory backlog," said John Falen, president of the Public Lands Council and NCBA member. "This bill will benefit the environment, while also saving taxpayer dollars. Stability in the federal grazing permit renewal process keeps the associated private base-property lands economically viable as ranching units, which in turn prevents the fragmentation of open space.”