WSGA: In the News


Date: 6/20/2016 12:00:00 AM

Title: WSGA to testify before the Public Lands & Forests Subcommittee of the Senate Energy Committee in Washington, D.C. on June 21st

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2016

Contact: Haley Lockwood at 307.638.3942 or haley@wysga.org

 WSGA to testify before the Public Lands & Forests Subcommittee of the Senate Energy Committee in Washington, D.C. on June 21st

 Planning 2.0—Draft BLM revision to its Land Use Planning Handbook to be reviewed.


CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Stock Growers Association’s Executive Vice President Jim Magagna has traveled to Washington, D.C. to testify before the Public Lands & Forests Subcommittee of the Senate Energy Committee regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 Handbook. This plan would aid the BLM to review how Resource Management Plans (RMPs) are developed and updated.

A central component of Planning 2.0 introduces the concept of landscape level planning.  WSGA finds several dangers inherent in this approach.  Landscape level planning moves the input and decision-making processes further from those agency personnel with a working knowledge of the resource and resource challenges. 

“I believe it is useful to understanding our concerns with the planning rule to place it in the context of the evolution of the relationship between the BLM and the public land rancher,” explains Jim Magagna, WSGA Executive Vice President. “Prior to the mid-20th century, public land grazing was viewed primarily as “a use of the land”.  The role of BLM was focused on the issuance of permits and assuring general compliance with their terms and conditions.”

“Beginning in the 1960’s, BLM range professionals became more active as “partners” with ranchers in on-the-ground management.  This partnership led to more intense management of livestock and increased productivity of the land,” Magagna states. “Advances in range science influenced livestock management.  As we moved toward the 21st century, livestock grazing came to be recognized not only as a use of the land but as an important tool in meeting the resource management goals of the agency.”

Today, increased federal regulatory burdens and incessant legal challenges to agency decisions from a radical element within the environmental community threaten this partnership.  While we (WSGA) commend the BLM for considering the need to make their planning process more responsive to the public, WSGA is very concerned that several of the changes proposed in Planning 2.0 will further erode our partnership with the agency in achieving sustainable resource management.

One of the cited goals of Planning 2.0 is to “improve the BLM’s ability to respond to social and environmental change in a timely manner”.  While timeliness may be a virtue to be commended, WSGA finds it difficult to reconcile response to social change” with the BLM’s mandate to manage for multiple use and sustained yield. 

In summary, BLM Planning 2.0 will complicate effective resource planning while reducing opportunities for meaningful public and local governmental input and lessening local agency decision making authority.  It will further challenge the public land rancher while eroding partnerships with local BLM personnel in assuring resource sustainability that contributes to the long-term viability of our industry.

For additional BLM Planning 2.0 information, read a summary of initial public input and listen to proposed rule webinars please visit the Bureau of Land Management website at: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/planning/planning_overview/planning_2_0.html

 



  
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