Ranchers like the new bill and its emphasis on cooperation with land managers, says Ken Spann, a Colorado rancher who chairs the National Cattlemen's Association federal lands committee. To most non-ranchers, the revision is little more than a paint job.
"Domenici's attitude that "it's the rancher's land" is still reflected in this bill," says Cathy Carlson, public lands specialist for the National Wildlife Federation in Boulder, Colo.
The bill continues to exclude conservationists from grazing advisory councils, and it withholds grazing permits from people outside of the livestock industry, making it "totally inadequate" in terms of involving the public in land management decisions, says Steve Moyer, staffer with Trout Unlimited. The revised bill also limits the extent to which land managers can use the National Environmental Policy Act to review management plans, and it prevents federal agencies from mandating minimum water flows through public streams.
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- Kent Schoberle on Ranch Diaries: A New Mexico cattle company is born
- Jim Turner on Ranch Diaries: Why we manage our cattle horseback
- Kenneth Parsons on Western states eye federal lands—again
- Jeff Ross on My kind of town: Livingston, Montana