Friday, July 24, 2009

Nevada Ranchers Permits in Jeopardy

County supports cattlemen's fight
By Christy Lattin
LVN Community News Editor

Churchill County Commissioners agreed to support the Nevada Cattlemen's Association's in its legal battle against an environmental group that is challenging Nevada grazing permits.

Ron Torell, an NCA board member, read a statement from NCA President Dan Gralian at the commission's recent meeting. In it, Gralian explained the Western Watersheds Project filed a lawsuit against the Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management regarding grazing allotments in Idaho and Nevada.

“The protection of sage-grouse and sage-grouse habitat is Western Watershed's stated purpose behind this suit, but it is common knowledge that their primary agenda is to drive us ranchers off of our public lands,” Gralian's letter states.

He further claimed Western Watersheds Project “challenges the validity of almost all 10-year grazing permit renewals” in the Elko BLM district and estimated the suit affects more than 300 permits in Nevada.

The case is being heard by Idaho District court Judge Lynn Winmill, “a judge that has a history of being friendly to Western Watersheds and in most cases has ruled in their favor,” Gralian stated. Read More

The sage grouse issue is one that is starting to fester in the west. With so much public land in this half of the country, activist groups are going to do what they can to eliminate ranchers from that land in favor of letting it sit empty. The problem that ranchers face is that many people not familiar with grazing and land management wrongly believe that it damages the land. The truth of the matter is that when done properly, grazing will improve the quality and quantity of the forages on the range. It’s a win-win situation because when we utilize this resource, it also makes the resource better.

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