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Subcommittee Examines Challenges
for Grazing and Range Conservation

Washington, DC - Tomorrow the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health is holding a hearing on challenges for grazing and range conservation on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands. The hearing will be at 3:30 pm in 1334 Longworth House Office Building.

"Ranchers in the West have continued to see a decline in recent years in the amount of land available for public grazing," said House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA). "It's imperative the public has continued access to these lands as grazing is vital for local economies and is useful as a land management tool."

Livestock grazing was a central part of settling the West and to this day continues to be a central aspect of rural western communities. The Forest Service and BLM administer roughly 27,000 permits on roughly 250 million acres of public land.

"Scientific research shows that grazing on public lands is a compatible use when properly managed, and an effective tool for rangeland health," said Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). "We need to make sure that federal policy is appropriate for the range and takes into account the important role ranchers have played in the stewardship of our public lands. I've seen firsthand the good results of positive management practices between public and private lands. Often in the West, the checkerboard landscape of private and public lands necessitates a collaborative partnership to achieve best practices. It's important for the Resources Committee to evaluate what's working and what's not as we strive to make sure our land managers are the best possible stewards of the public lands."

Recently, grazing on public lands has declined. The extended drought in the West, appeals and lawsuits, and compliance with the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and NEPA, have all impacted the amount of livestock grazing on public lands.

 

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Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM  Pacific


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