A well established principle of law is that any federal agency must do an environmental impact statement for any major federal action significantly affecting the environment. This includes reauthorization of continuing activities.What does “major” mean mean? There is controversy over that and many lawsuits in the past to provide guidance, but “major” likely means a controversial activity which affects the health of wildlife and livestock even if they have done this for a while on an annual basis.
A categorical exemption, or CE, is a necessarily device to avoid the time and cost of environmental analysis of certain classes of activities that are obviously minor, such as rebuilding a non-controversial fence, or a small timber sale. Unfortunately, the Bridger-Teton NF is yearly trying to reauthorize these immensely controversial feedgrounds which are the breeding grounds of brucellosis, chronic wasting disease, and other diseases with just a CE.
I imagine a lawsuit will be on its way unless they decide to do environmental analysis, which also requires far more opportunity for public comment than a CE does.
Story today in the Casper Star Tribune by Whitney Royster.
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I have moved Robert Hoskins comments up into this article because of the added detail he provides. I see his comments have generated a lot of additional comments as did my original post. RM
“Thanks for bringing attention to this. Given that Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds are a disease time bomb waiting to explode in the Greater Yellowstone, with consequences to the ecosystem that are now incalculable, the determination of the livestock industry dominated federal and state agencies to ignore the truth about feedgrounds can only be dscribed as wilful negligence of the highest order. Read the rest of this entry »