Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Public Lands Grazing Debate

Civil rights case over Idaho grazing can advance
By JOHN MILLER 09.29.08, 11:37 AM ET

BOISE, Idaho -
A Washington state businessman and environmentalist, the high bidder on six Idaho grazing leases in 2006, can proceed with his federal civil rights lawsuit against state officials after they awarded the leases instead to ranchers, who had offered less money in a competitive auction.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Gordon Younger, a Seattle packaging business owner and head of Lazy Y Ranch Ltd. against Lt. Gov. Jim Risch and four other members of the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners. Their Aug. 8, 2006 decision gave the 10-year leases to the second-highest bidders.

Younger is a contributor to the Western Watersheds Project, a group seeking to end grazing on public land in the Rocky Mountains on grounds it damages the environment. Read More

There are several groups that have been trying to eliminate grazing on public lands for some time now. The Sierra Club, for example, has been lobbying to force the federal government to accept lower bids if the land will instead be “restored”. Groups like these see absolutely no benefit to grazing. This land belongs to the American public and what better way to utilize it than to grow food for them.

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