Saturday, August 1, 2009

One Mans Take on Ranchers Who Accuse Environmentalist of "Abusing the Courts" in the Filing of So Many Lawsuits Over Rangeland Declimation

By Ken Cole, 7-18-09

It's funny how an organization which uses the courts to hold government officials accountable could be called "a band of outlaws". There is a reason that (the environmentalists) win in court regularly and it is because the only interests represented by agencies such as the the BLM and USFS are the extractive interests, especially livestock interests.

I can't count the number of times I've heard agency people come up with some lame excuse why they continue to allow livestock graze in areas that have been totally devastated by those very livestock.

When reading permit renewal documents the BLM never admits that livestock are the reason for the failure to meet rangeland health standards even though it is absolutely apparent that they are. If the standards aren't being met they rearrange the deck chairs but always maintain the same amount of livestock use even though there are serious problems.

They have mislead about whether species such as sage grouse are using a particular allotment even though their own mapping shows that they are. Judges don't like that and that's why we win.

The livestock industry wants it all, wolves, bears, lions, coyotes, ravens, buffalo, elk, and a whole array of wildlife are killed outright so they can maintain their custom and culture. Other species have and are disappearing because of their abusive grazing practices so they can maintain their custom and culture. Habitat is being destroyed, water is being polluted and the land is pounded into dust so they can maintain their custom and culture. They have "captured" university range departments to concoct science to justify their carnage upon the land so they can maintain their custom and culture. They have killed literally thousands of buffalo under the guise of disease management which turns out to be a scheme to protect grass so they can maintain their custom and culture. They cherry pick science to deny the fact that their domestic sheep kill OUR bighorn sheep so they can maintain their custom and culture. They destroy vast areas of important sagebrush steppe and piƱon/juniper habitat by mowing, poisoning, hacking and burning under the guise of habitat improvement or "fuels" projects but which are in reality ways to increase forage for livestock so they can maintain their custom and culture.

Unfortunately the "custom and culture" argument falls flat when you look at who is involved in public lands ranching. Companies like Barrick Gold (a Canadian mining company) and other mining companies, the Simplot Corporation, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, and rich hobby ranchers are the big players in public lands ranching at least in Nevada and parts of Idaho. These companies use public lands ranching for various reasons. These mining companies, agribusiness, and water speculators buy base properties and hire ranchers to graze the public lands allotments. That is hardly the "custom and culture" that one thinks of when the subject is brought up but it is becoming the norm. They have expensive lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians to further their priorities while the public is being rolled and asked to subsidize this destructive practice.

And what do they pay for the privilege? $1.35 per Animal Unit Month which entitles them to graze a cow and a calf or up 10 domestic sheep on OUR public lands.

The hyperbole that Mr. Dorinson, who is "a communications strategist specializing in media relations, speech and op-ed writing, public affairs, political communications, crisis communications and government relations" according to his website (, is seemingly meant to disparage anyone who may be opposed to the interests of the livestock industry. He fails to mention the devastation that the livestock industry has wrought upon the land and the wildlife while trying to gain sympathy for the "custom and culture" which is benefits the few landed elite, politically connected, and hobby ranchers.

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