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Lawsuit Filed Over New Grazing Rules on Public Land

posted on July 14, 2006

Japanese customs officials announced this week that they found banned U.S. beef products in a shipment of other, approved meats. According to Japan's agriculture ministry, a box of American roast beef was included in a 1,200 box shipment of U.S. turkey and ham. USDA categorized the inclusion of the prohibited meat as a "mistake." But the incident likely will renew concerns about the reliability of U.S. exports as Japan nears the final state of lifting its ban on U.S. beef products. Western state cattle producers were involved in another dispute this week. But in this case, the conflict is with a domestic adversary.

Lawsuit Filed Over New Grazing Rules on Public Land

New regulations released this week regarding livestock grazing on public lands in the west have already drawn criticism and a lawsuit from an Idaho-based environmentalist group.

The regulations, which go into effect next month, would increase collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management, (the government agency that manages public lands), and ranchers whose livestock graze on 160 (m) million acres of public lands.

The BLM says the rules allow for "more analysis of grazing's effects on rangelands, which will help the agency determine any harm to the lands."

But a spokesperson for the environmental group, Western Watershed Project, said allowing more time for the BLM to analyze and change grazing practices if resource damage is occurring will result in "... an increase in damage to wildlife habitat and fisheries in the interim because changes will not be made in a timely fashion." p> The group filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boise to block the new rules. The BLM says the rules are backed by sound environmental analysis and should withstand any legal challenges.


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