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Montana Ag Network report for January 23

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 20:29:29-05

Ranchers who utilize our nation's public lands for grazing are celebrating a couple of major victories here of late. Just recently, President Trump announced that the White House Council on Environmental Quality published an update for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations.

Brad Boner is the American Sheep Industry Association's Secretary/Treasurer from Glenrock, Wyoming and says NEPA hasn't seen a major overhaul-either regulatorily or statutorily-in over three decades and the announcement is some very good news for public lands ranchers.

"If you're a public lands rancher in the West, in the last 20 years, you know how NEPA has been used as a hammer overhead by the environmentalists" said Boner. "And I think it's just huge, huge that we're able to work with this administration to streamline some things and really make things better for everybody."

The other major victory for public lands ranchers is the BLM’s 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.

"Those regulations were just so onerous" said Boner. "And for 20 years we've been having to battle those out at a tremendous cost to our industry and to our ranchers. And so, it's a breath of fresh air. It really is."

As part of the process, the BLM will be having some public scoping meetings across the West and the first meeting is February 6th in Miles City, Montana followed by February 11th in Las Cruces, New Mexico, February 18th in Elko, Nevada and February 20th in Casper, Wyoming. Public comments may be submitted in writing until February 28th.

For more information, visit the BLM’s website .