From: alra@governance.net
Subject: March 2nd Deadline -- Grazing and Fed Lands

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 – E-mail: alra@landrights.org or
alra@governance.net  Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Urgent Action Required!

Environmental groups attack ranchers.  Both private land and the use of Federal land are at stake.

They are trying to bury to ranchers in adverse comments.  You can change that and help defeat the greens.

In order for private property and Federal land users to compete effectively with the environmental groups over public policy, we must all help each other.  There are not enough forestry advocates to protect themselves.  The same is true with grazing and mining advocates.  But as a team, we can all cooperate together and be successful.

Below is a Comment Questionnaire with a March 2nd (Tuesday) deadline.  Five minutes of your time will help thousands of ranchers protect themselves.  Please take a few minutes and simply mark the form AGREE, DISAGREE, OR NO OPINION.   However, the questionnaire is much more effective and powerful if you write a paragraph or two with your own personal comments.

If you would like it, go to www.landrights.org and download a fully formatted version of the Comment Questionnaire.  It will be prominently shown on the first page of the website.   Fill it out and then fax it to the BLM or mail it.  The postmark deadline is Tuesday, March 2nd.  Be sure to mail, fax or e-mail this questionnaire even if you receive it late.  They may still count it.

Remember – We AGREE with all the statements below, but you don’t have to.

Postmark Deadline Tues. March 2nd – Fax--E-mail Deadline 12:00 PM Mar. 2nd.

From American Land Rights and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association----- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has undertaken regulatory reform to better enable allotment owners and land managers to care for the natural resources of the agency. With out adequate public support of this reform, the BLM may be unable to assist ranchers, not only in caring for the land and its wildlife, but to protect rural families, economies and communities. 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in the process of rewriting their grazing regulations, and hopefully will undo some of the harm done by the Babbitt Administration. The "other side" is mounting a strong campaign against any change.  For that reason, we need anyone and EVERYONE who care about the ranching industry in the West and rural families and communities to comment draft regulations.
While there are many positives in the draft, there are also some things that could be better.  Livestock organizations are completing comprehensive comments that address virtually every part of the regulations.
What we need YOU to do is send in some sort of brief comment.  Please find below comments you can use. 

Please read each statement and mark it AGREE, DISAGREE, or NO OPINION.  Keep in mind, that the American Land Rights Association and New Mexico Cattle Growers agree with all of the statements but you don’t have to.   It is very important that you respond.  Please fill in the box with your hand written comments or add an additional sheet of paper.  This makes the comments far more effective and valuable.  Please do not fail this send this document, even if you receive it late.

If there is not enough support for regulatory reform, nothing will happen at all.  Secretary Norton told us about a park service reform she had tried --- only to have the comments come in 95% opposed to the action.  WE CANNOT HAVE THAT HAPPEN with the BLM – Caren Cowan and Chuck Cushman.

The questionnaire begins here-----

Grazing and Federal Lands Federal Register Comments
RE: 43 CFR Part 4100 [WO-220-1020-24 1A] RIN: 1004-AD42; Grazing Administration –
Exclusive of Alaska; FEDERAL REGISTER Vol. 68, No. 235, 12/8/03, pages 68452-68474

DATE: ____________________________
Kathleen B. Clarke
Director, Bureau of Land Management - 630                           ATTN:  RIN 1004-AD42
% Eastern States Office - BLM
7450 Boston Boulevard
Springfield, Virginia 22153                                                 

FAX:  (202) 653-5279
EMAIL:  WOComment@blm.gov

Dear Madam Director:

I am writing in support of the above captioned grazing regulation reform proposed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  These proposed changes are designed to aide in the management of BLM lands and to provide care for the land and wildlife as well as protecting the custom and culture of rural families, economies and communities across the West.  I welcome most of the proposed changes.  

However, I do have the concerns that in some areas the regulatory reform does not go far enough to BLM land management.   Please examine the responses to the following statements and consider my answers as my comments for the official record.  I understand that I can attach additional comments or pages to this document.  I may also decide to rewrite some of the statements. Please accept a photocopy or E-mail of this document as valid as the original.    Here are a few specific comments:

-----1.  Ranchers and their families have cared for both private and federal land for generations.


-----2.  To adequately care for the land and its wildlife, ranchers must have the cooperation of federal land management agencies.


-----3.  Decision regarding federal land management should be made based on monitoring and science.


-----4.  Federal land has been mismanaged and even harmed by excessive litigation by "affected" or "interested" parties who are not directly or materially impacted by BLM actions related to livestock grazing.


-----5.  Ranchers should have the right to own improvements that they pay for.


-----6.  Ranchers should have the right to appeal BLM decisions regarding their allotments without going to federal district court.


-----7.  BLM decisions should take into account custom, culture and economics.


-----8.  Ranchers should not the double penalty of losing their BLM allotments because of actions of state agencies.


-----9.  The government should not require surcharges on ranchers who sublease their allotments, especially in times of drought or when young people can only sublease to get into the ranching business.


-----10.  The BLM should bear the burden of proof to support their decisions.


-----11.  The word “affected” person, interest or party is used in the proposed regulations without a definition.  That definition should read as follows: “An affected person is a permittee, lessee or landowner that is directly and materially affected by BLM action related to livestock grazing plans or actions related to those plans.”  Presently federal land management agencies are hamstrung by public processes that result in the prohibition of prudent land management.  Additionally, these processes cost untold amounts of time and money that could be put to good use on the ground for resource enhancement.


-----12.  I strongly support the changes to 4110.3 that will include consideration of relevant social, economic and cultural effects of proposed actions.  


-----13.  I do not support the language in 4130.1-1 with respect to whether or not an allotment owner had had a state grazing lease canceled.  While the proposed regulations do move toward removing “double jeopardy,” there is room for improvement.  State grazing leases are governed by a wholly different set of rules and regulations and have no direct bearing on management of BLM lands.


-----14.  I believe that there will be substantial detrimental impacts as a result of changes to 4130.3-3 and 4160.1.  These proposed rules would prevent BLM allotment owners from challenging the proposed action and mitigation in a biological assessment (BA).  This rule effectively eliminates all meaningful administrative appeal of the terms and conditions included in a grazing permit that result from a BA and related biological opinion (BO).  Both the Taylor Grazing Act (TGA) and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) provide a right of administrative appeal to the holders of grazing permits.


-----15.  Additionally the APA requires that for all formal adjudications, the “proponent of the rule or order ” has the burden of proof to sustain its decision by a “preponderance of the evidence.”  This requirement applies to all decisions regarding “matters which arise in the administration of grazing districts.”  The proposed regulations do not seem to take this into account.


-----16.  The proposed rules do not address the need to eliminate the subleasing surcharge.  Historically, allotment owners have worked cooperatively with one another when the need arose, such as during a drought or fire, sharing resources to keep one another’s operations viable.  Additionally, subleasing provided a vehicle for young people wishing to enter the ranching business with an opportunity to enter the business before they had the enormous financial capital to buy an allotment.  The subleasing surcharge allows neither of these and harms the future of the industry.


(Your written comments here will make this document more valuable.)

(If needed, use additional sheets or attach a personal letter.)

To validate your comments please fill in completely (PRINT) and be sure to sign.
Signature____________________________________ Name_________________________________________________
E-Mail___________________________________ Fax _______________________ Phone ________________________
Address___________________________________ Town__________________________ State_____ Zip____________
Do not fail to fax or e-mail this testimony even if you receive it late.  
Prepared by the American Land Rights Association, PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA 98604. Phone: 360-687-3087 — Fax: 360-687-2973 — E-mail: alra@landrights.org — Website: http://www.landrights.org

Send your comments to BLM:   FAX:  (202) 653-5279  -  EMAIL:  WOComment@blm.gov

Postmark Deadline Tues. Mar. 2nd. – Fax – E-mail Deadline 12:00 PM Mar 2nd.

Please forward this message as widely as possible.

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