BLM takes steps to improve administration of grazing regulations on public lands
WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management has published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to consider proposed revisions to the agency’s grazing regulations. The BLM currently manages livestock grazing on 155 million of the 245 million acres of public land and administers nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases.
“Administration of sustainable livestock grazing on public lands is a key part of the Bureau of Land Management’s multiple-use mission. We continue to seek ways to improve and streamline the grazing permit process to achieve greater efficiencies and service to permittees,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management Casey B. Hammond. “This rulemaking effort is designed to strengthen and improve our administration of grazing permits across the West, and we welcome public and stakeholder ideas and perspectives.”
The proposed revisions will update, modernize and streamline the grazing regulations and provide greater flexibility for land and resource management. Through this rulemaking, the BLM seeks to improve existing land-use planning and grazing permitting procedures, while simultaneously promoting public lands conservation. The BLM hopes to improve its stewardship of the nation’s rangeland resources by strengthening controls to prevent unauthorized grazing, enhancing environmental protections across various non-grazing land-use programs, and improving public input opportunities.
The BLM is currently managing 11 demonstration projects in six states as part of our outcome-based grazing authorizations initiative. These demonstration projects provide BLM, working in partnership with ranchers and other partners, with opportunities to improve our guidance and best management practices to use when issuing grazing permits. Lessons learned from developing cooperative monitoring plans and land health evaluations under this initiative may also be incorporated into this regulatory process.
By publishing this Notice of Intent, the BLM is informing the public about the proposed revisions and how interested parties can comment. Public scoping meetings will be held in in February to further inform the public about this project. These meetings include:
- Miles City, Montana: February 6, at the Sleep Inn and Suites, 1006 S. Haynes Ave., from 4:30-7:30 p.m.;
- Las Cruces, New Mexico: February 11 at the Las Palmas Grill, 201 East University Ave., from 4:30-7:30 p.m.;
- Elko, Nevada: February 18 at the Elko Convention Center, 700 Moren Way, from 4:30-7:30 p.m.; and
- Casper, Wyoming: February 20, at the Casper Events Center, 1 Events Dr., from 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Comments on the proposed regulation revisions may be submitted in writing until March 6, 2020.* Meeting information, announcements, instructions on how to provide comments, and pertinent documents can be found at the BLM website at https://go.usa.gov/xyMqb.
For more information, contact Seth Flanigan, BLM Project Manager, at 208-384-3450 or BLM_WO_grazing_email@blm.gov.
*Corrects closing date for public comments included in an earlier version.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2019—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.