Monday, April 13, 2009

Sage Grouse Debate

Suit says grazing, drilling rules threaten bird
Scott Sonner, Associated Press
Sunday, April 12, 2009

(04-12) 04:00 PDT Reno -- Conservationists say federal rules that allow livestock grazing and oil and gas development across 25 million acres of public land in the West are illegal because they fail to acknowledge the harm being done to sage grouse.

A lawsuit recently filed in federal court accuses the Bureau of Land Management of violating two major environmental laws and its own regulations by allowing commercial activities to continue on those lands in California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.

But in a switch in strategy, the environmentalists aren't asking a judge to immediately halt those operations. They want to talk, and they think they may have a willing listener in the new Obama administration.

Ranchers and drillers said the suit is part of an effort to keep livestock, energy development and other commercial activities off an area of the West bigger than the state of Indiana.

"They are trying to tie up 25 million acres and close it down to livestock operators altogether," said Ronald Opsahl, a lawyer for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which represents the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming. "As far as the scope of this case, it has to be unprecedented." Read More

This situation falls in line with an article I wrote last fall about the concept of “peak agriculture”. The concept is that there is a push to ban agriculture from certain areas in order to allegedly protect something else. In this case, there is an effort to eliminate 25 million acres of land from our available food and energy producing area. If things like this happen, people need to realize that this impacts our ability to produce food. We can’t replace these acres somewhere else. There is only so much land on this planet, and even less that can be used to grow food.

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