Friday, September 4, 2009

Ranchers Win Court Battle Against Environmentalists

Wyoming environmental group loses challenge to livestock grazing in national forest
by The Associated Press
Thursday September 03, 2009, 8:30 AM

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- A federal judge has sided with managers of northern Wyoming's Bighorn National Forest and ruled against an environmental group that challenged livestock grazing in the forest.

Hailey, Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project filed suit in 2007 over a 2005 revision to the forest management plan. The group said the revision process should have considered various alternatives for grazing in the forest, including reduced amounts of grazing.

U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer in Cheyenne ruled Monday that forest managers did as the law required -- took a "hard look" at the environmental consequences of the forest plan.

"Simply because the WWP may not like the ultimate outcome does not mean that the Forest Service was in violation of the law," Brimmer wrote.

Three Wyoming counties straddled by the forest -- Big Horn, Sheridan and Johnson -- intervened on the side of the U.S. Forest Service. The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Muddy Creek Grazing Association also intervened on the agency's side.

"The interveners were not confident that the Forest Service would protect their interests, so they intervened to protect themselves," an attorney for the interveners, Dan Frank, explained in a release. Read More

Proper grazing is one of the most beneficial things you can do for grasslands. These grasslands have adapted over thousand’s of years to use grazing to it’s advantage. Western Watershed’s plan to kick ranchers off these public lands is not a management plan, it’s an agenda. Luckily, the ranchers have won this fight for now and the American public will continue to benefit from an affordable food supply.

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