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.