Final victory over Bush anti-public, anti-environment grazing regulations

It took a long time, but Western Watersheds and Advocates for the West seem to have a final victory

As a note, I am pleased to have been a plaintiff for the National Wildlife Federation in fighting this Bush era effort to exclude the public from having influence in grazing decisions, improperly grant property rights to livestock grazers, including water rights. Ralph Maughan
Below is the celebratory news release from WWP

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Western Watersheds Project - Working to Protect and Restore Western Watersheds and Wildlife
Online Messenger #184

Western Watersheds Project Victorious in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals & Wins Another Federal Court Settlement Against the Forest Service on 386 Allotments in Seven Western States.
~ Jon Marvel
Jon Marvel

Friends,

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Western Watersheds Project victory in Idaho District Court overturning the Bush Administration’s attempt to fundamentally change federal grazing regulations impacting hundreds of millions of acres of public lands in the West.  WWP was joined in this litigation by co-plaintiffs National Wildlife Federation, Idaho Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Idaho Conservation League, and famed Idaho conservationist and WWP Board member Dr. Ralph Maughan of Pocatello.

The Bush Era Grazing Regulations would have :

  • Removed public involvement from grazing decisions affecting public lands and wildlife.
  • Granted ranchers private property-interest in public livestock grazing installations and developments including fences, water developments, and buildings on public lands.
  • Granted ranchers water-rights on public lands currently held in trust by the American public.

This significant victory at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is a welcome smack-down of Bush anti-environmentalism.  The win emboldens public participation and accountability, stymies the most recent livestock industry land and water grab, and maintains public ownership of the West’s vast water resources to benefit wildlife and future generations.

Thanks to our attorneys Laird Lucas of Advocates for the West, Joe Feller of Arizona State University Law School and Johanna Wald of the Natural Resources Defense Council for their excellent legal representation.

WWP would also like to acknowledge the decades-long legal work on the issue of public lands ranching by the late Tom Lustig of the National Wildlife Federation.  Before his untimely death in May 2008 Tom provided invaluable legal counsel on this critical litigation.

tom lustig
Tom Lustig

Read the Decisionpdf

Western Western Watersheds Project Secures a Federal District Court Ordered Settlement with the Forest Service Halting the Agency’s End-Run Around the National Environmental Policy Act in Authorizing Livestock Grazing on 386 Grazing Allotments Across the West.

WWP was joined in this litigation by Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity, California Trout, Environmental Protection Information Center, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Los Padres Forest Watch, Sierra Forest Legacy, Sequoia Forestkeeper, Grand Canyon Trust, Utah Environmental Congress, Red Rock Forests, and Oregon Natural Desert Association.

This significant victory affects livestock grazing administration on National Forests in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and California and will ensure compliance with the nation’s most important environmental statute, NEPA.

Read the Court Orderpdf

Thanks to Laurie Rule of Advocates for the West’s Boise office for her stellar legal representation in this case.

Jon Marvel
Executive Director

Banner: Sawtooth National Forest, central Idaho © Lynne Stone

Clean Water

Public Land Ranchers’ latest attempt to steal water from the public was averted © Christopher McBride

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Ralph Maughan's Wildlife News

Another Gulf Oil Well goes boom . . . now has mile long slick

No one dead this time; relatively shallow water-

This well was in production, unlike the Deepwater Horizon, BP disaster.  It tells me that major oil pollution might have become a permanent feature of the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil sheen spreading from Gulf platform explosion. By Alan Levin and Julie Schmit, USA Today

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Added Sept. 3. There was an interesting article in the NYT today on this. Mariner Rig Accident Undercuts Efforts to End Drilling Moratorium. By John Collins Rudolf. From Green, NYT’s blog about energy and the environment.

The rig was owned by Mariner Energy and it is interesting that some of their executives were busy in Houston protesting against the moratorium on new deepwater drilling. The moratorium lasts until the end of November. It also seems these folks would rather engage in political protest rather than clean up their act. Certainly a bad omen for the future.

Tone down the rhetoric: Ranchers will still get money for livestock losses

Defenders of Wildlife answers Butch Otter’s “political grandstanding”-

The writer of the Defender’s response is Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife.

Ranchers will still get money for livestock losses. Rodger Schlickeisen guest editorial in the Idaho Statesman.

I can’t help but compare Otter’s red-faced response on this relatively small amount of money to his lack of concern for all people who have been thrown out of work, especially those jobs over which he has influence, such as public school teachers.

Posted in cattle, Idaho, politics, Wolves. Tags: , . Comments Off on Tone down the rhetoric: Ranchers will still get money for livestock losses

The awful Spread Creek Dam in Grand Teton NP to be removed

Gradual purchase of private lands made the dam pointless-

You have probably crossed Spread Creek if you visited Grand Teton National Park. It is a broad swath of gravel with a tiny stream running through the sun-baked rocks.

I didn’t know the cause of this for many years. Finally I was shown the crumbling old Spread Creek dam, a long ago scheme to irrigate to ranch pastures. Although it will take years to restore the riparian area, it is good news that this old mistake will be removed.

Spread Creek Dam removal to improve trout habitat. Project near national park will open up 50 miles of stream to migrating cutthroat. “Spread Creek Dam will be demolished to improve trout habitat and return the area to a more natural state”. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.