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Bureau of Land Management
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Factsheet (36KB PDF)
Questions and Answers(45KB PDF)
Final Grazing Regulations
Federal Register Notice
Contacts:
Tom Gorey
(202) 452-5137
Ken Visser
(775) 861-6492

BLM Publishes New Grazing Regulations
To Improve Management of Public Lands Grazing

The Bureau of Land Management today published in final form a new set of grazing regulations that will improve the agency’s management of public lands grazing. The final regulations, developed with extensive public input and supported by a detailed environmental analysis, recognize the economic and social benefits of public lands grazing, as well as its role in preserving open space and wildlife habitat in the rapidly growing West.

In announcing today’s action, BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said: “These new regulations are aimed at promoting more effective and efficient management of public lands grazing, which is a vital part of the history, economy, and social identity of Western rural communities.” The set of new regulations, collectively known as a final “rule,” appears in today’s Federal Register and will take effect in 30 days. Overall, the new rule seeks to improve the BLM’s working relationships with its grazing permit and lease holders; advance the BLM’s efforts in assessing and protecting rangelands; and enhance administrative efficiency.

The BLM proposed grazing regulation changes in the form of a proposed rule in December 2003. The agency followed up with a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and received more than 18,000 comments on the proposed rule and draft EIS during a public comment period that expired on March 2, 2004. The Bureau published its final EIS in June 2005, after which the agency announced that it would prepare an additional document (known as an addendum) to respond to comments that came in after the public comment deadline. The addendum was published on March 31, 2006.

Among other things, the final rule published today:

  • authorizes the BLM and a grazing permittee or lessee (or other cooperating party) to share title to future range improvements;
  • phases in grazing-use decreases (as well as increases) of more than 10 percent over a five-year period, consistent with existing law and in full recognition of the BLM’s authority to respond as necessary to drought, fire, and other resource conditions;
  • promotes a consistent approach by BLM managers in considering and documenting the social, cultural, and economic effects of decisions that determine levels of authorized grazing use;
  • removes a restriction that has limited temporary non-use of a grazing permit to three consecutive years;
  • requires the use of existing or new monitoring data in cases where the BLM has found, based on its initial assessment, that a grazing allotment is failing to meet rangeland health standards;
  • and allows up to 24 months – instead of prior to the start of the next grazing season – for the BLM to analyze and formulate an appropriate course of action in cases where grazing practices are at issue.

For more details on the provisions in the new grazing rule, see the accompanying Factsheet (36KB PDF) and Questions and Answers (45KB PDF).

The BLM manages more land – 261 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency. About 160 million acres of this land are authorized for grazing by more than 15,000 livestock operators. With a budget of about $1.8 billion, the BLM carries out a multiple-use mission, one that is aimed at sustaining the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.