'Environmentalists will win'

  • Andy Kerr

    Elizabeth Feryl photo

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Andy Kerr is a veteran Oregon environmentalist who represents The Wilderness Society on the Steens issue. He is pushing for an end to livestock grazing on Steens Mountain.

"The (Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council) is the wrong entity to cut a deal. It has only one card-carrying environmentalist. It's not representative of the key stakeholders.

"No matter what you do, if you try to keep cows on the mountain, you raise the cost of managing the area for the BLM. If you try to fence off riparian areas, you raise the cost. There's an exponential increase in cost to try to continue grazing, compared to the ecological benefit of phasing out grazing.

"This may be the beginning of a decade-long battle that I'm convinced, in the end, ranchers will lose and environmentalists will win. The Steens is going to become the poster child for the Oregon Desert and how it should be managed."

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