Ranchers Call on BLM to Use Updated Science in Revised Sage Grouse Plans

Ranchers Call on BLM to Use Updated Science in Revised Sage Grouse Plans

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public Lands Council (PLC) have responded to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) release of updated greater sage grouse management plans. These plans will impact public land use in 10 states and millions of acres across the Western U.S. The BLM has been amending 77 land use plans and could potentially designate millions of acres as new Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs). Despite the extensive scope of these plans, the BLM has only allowed a 90-day comment period on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a 60-day comment period on proposed ACECs.

NCBA President Mark Eisele, a rancher from Wyoming, emphasized the significant implications of these plans on sage grouse habitat conservation and the operations of Western ranchers. He believes the BLM should extend the comment period to allow for more engagement from local stakeholders and ensure that the decision-making process is based on sound science.

PLC President Mark Roeber, a federal grazing permittee from Colorado, highlighted the importance of considering research that shows managed livestock grazing can benefit the sage grouse population and their habitat. He urged the agency to prioritize science and utilize livestock grazing as a tool for preserving the sagebrush steppe, preventing wildfires, and protecting this iconic species.

Both NCBA and PLC are calling for a significant extension of the comment period deadlines to allow ranchers and other local stakeholders to thoroughly evaluate the complex proposals put forth by the BLM. They are advocating for a more comprehensive and science-based approach to managing public lands and conserving the sage grouse population.

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