Stunning victory over Bush's proposed new grazing rules!!

An Idaho federal judge has slapped down the Dept. of Interior’s proposed new grazing regulations which would have greatly limited public comment and public oversight of grazing on hundreds of millions of acres of BLM land. They would have also greatly weakened the standards grazers are supposed to be held to while telling the public to just shut up!

Judge Lynn Winmill, issued a permanent injunction on the regulations, handing yet another defeat to this lawless regime’s attempt to turn the public lands over to a small cadre of land-abusing livestock owners.

Here is the story from the Associated Press. Judge blocks rules on grazing, saying government caved in to livestock industry. By Rebecca Boone. Associated Press.

I am pleased that I was one of the winning plaintiffs on this case. Western Watersheds Project v. Joe Kraayenbrink, et al. defendants; and Ralph Maughan, et al. v. Dave Rosenkrance, et al., defendants.

There will be more on this later . . . .


Here is the best part of the ruling NOW THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that the motion for partial summary judgment (Docket No. 112), and the motion for summary judgment Docket No. 114) are GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the motions for summary judgment Docket Nos. 109, 113 & 110) are DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the BLM regulations set forth in the Federal Register of July 12, 2006, 43 CFR Part 4100 et. seq., are ENJOINED in all
[emphasis mine]

Read the entire legal opinion.

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  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Kudos to WWP for bringing this important lawsuit. Much with land and wildlife conservation depends upon destroying the political power of the livestock industry to control land use decisions. Perhaps this court case will contribute to that goal.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    If folks want to put their money in an organization that really gets things done, and doesn’t blow in the wind with funding, they can give to the Western Watersheds Project.
    Because WWP does NOT go for large grants from the non-profit foundations, they have life, whereas some you’ve mentioned and others that could be, are afraid to take on the livestock lobby because that might jeopardize their grant to sit down with the livestock abusers and sing “Kumbaya”
    Too many of these foundations have the view that if you sit down and talk nice with people who are a hundred years past their time, something good will happen.
    Well I’ve done that. I’ve been called a “hippie,” “a rich trust-funder,” “a god-damned professor,” and I’ve smiled, and I learned 15 years ago, with accidental thanks to Senator Crapo who set up one of these misbegotten sessions, that these people disrespect the rest of us and won’t compromise even when it is in their self-interest.

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Kumbaya isn’t even a good song. Singing it kills brain cells. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with the mainstream groups.

  4. Mike Wolf Avatar
    Mike Wolf

    Ralph, those are some interseting insights I wasn’t keenly aware of.

    My thoughts are that many ranchers don’t agree with all of what their industry does, though some do still take advantage. The problem I see is that the industry lobby is rogue, dictating opinion to its members, rather than representing it. I have met a few ranchers, many of whom disagree with the lobby and industry in general; but who feel silenced, and must abide by the popular opinion out of fear of financial failure in a business that is more lifestyle than job.

    It is these ranchers whom I seek to give strength to by providing research as I have yet to see done. Frankly, I was worried that when I came up with the idea for Wolf Ranch in 2000; that someone would beat me to the idea, and I would not be able to pursue my dream of having a career which gave me the opportunities afforded by someone in the livestock industry (the opportunities such as living in the country, being close to wildlife, etc. – certainly not the financial opportunities.) Seeing that fully 7 years later, my idea is still unique and untested, and in demand; on the one hand gives me a glimmer of hope for my dream job; but also disappoints me that my battle will be uphill.

    I see in ranching an industry that is abusive to many of its members in many ways; dictating not only opinion through conservative politics and methods; but also dictating who succeeds, and who pays the price. I see an industry with a stranglehold on the littleguy; who must lash out somewhere – with that somewhere being against wolves. But I see a solution, a revolution in thinking from within. I cannot believe that to destroy the entrenched thoughts of an industry dictatorship that all those enslaved by it must be destroyed.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think you’re right, Mike. Those with the most aggressive and backward attitudes get active in politics, rise to positions of power, and call the shots for everybody.

    . . . and they are ones people like me run into, leaving a lasting impression. You are really right that it is lifestyle more than job. If it was just a job, most of these problems would be solved in a couple months of give and take bargaining.

  6. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    While it is true that cowboys (and loggers, to refer to another post) always get the short end of the stick wielded by the livestock and logging industries, we should not lose sight of the undeniable larger fact that the West is suitable neither for agriculture or silviculture at any but the smallest scales. Both industries have survived this long in the West only because of the extraordinary, unsustainable input of energy as well as these industries’ oligarchical control over local, regional, and even national politics.

    Unfortunately, even as these traditional industries become ecological dinosaurs, hanging on by their fingernails, they are being replaced by something equally ecologically absurd and unsustainable–the so-called “amenities/tourist” economy that now imports large amounts of energy to support people rather than cows. But lots of people are no better for the land and wildlife than livestock.

    Our conservation thinking has to include the dangers of human populations.

  7. kt Avatar

    What the Bush Grazing Reg changes really were about was CONTROL and PRIVATIZATION of public assets, or “resources”, on public lands. One of the reaons the BLM gave for a need for the wretched regulation changes in the EIS it prepared in support of them was that giving the public lands ranchers ownership of Cow Projects would make it easier for them to get BANK LOANS.

    Yep. Public lands ranchers get bank loans on just about everything they do. Loans on the often very small parcels of private land that are used as a Base Property for a grazing permit. Loans on the number of often fantastical AUMS/cattle numbers on grazing permits (in most cases wildly inflated and divorced from the paltry number of livestock still able to be grazed on depleted “ranges”).

    The Bush rollbacks stopped by the federal court in Boise would have made it possible for ranchers to also get loans on projects that purposefully destroy wild and free-flowing springs. New water projects on public lands – like the very destructive spring-gutting projects, and also stock ponds and wells, as well as other projects like fences – were to become partially or entirely owned by private Cattlemen.

    Plus, the public was to be shut out of very important BLM processes to limit or mitigate grazing impacts.

    And even in situations where obvious damage to public lands was occurring – like water choked with manure, cattle-caused erosion and gullying, or Sage Grouse populations plummeting – long, long, long delays in BLM changing “management” of cattle grazing and trampling and manuring and weed-vectoring in an allotment on public lands could have occurred. Thus allowing private livestock interests to overwhelmingly trump everything else on public lands.

  8. dc Avatar

    Wait a minute… this sounds so .. final.

    There must be another shoe falling soon.. right?

  9. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    You started a great point about the politicians, Ralph. Dishonesty is also a huge factor, but maybe more so the “sheep”. The people that never learned how to think for themselves. They say “Well, that just the way it is”, and “Don’t rock the boat”.

    kt, pointed out about how the public was to be shut out. It is scary to think about all the issues we have been shut out of. Hopefully it will not take several years to come to the surface.

    I am a persistant boat rocker.

  10. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Many people see politics as a corrupt game, and use that as an excuse to not pay attention.

    The ironic result, I think, is that this cynical attitude actually facilitates large duplicity because people don’t distinguish between petty misdeeds and vast efforts to subvert the law.

    In recent years America has seen the latter, and it took 5 years before a majority came to perceive things were seriously wrong.

    It is, like you say, also easy for people to “not rock the boat.” It is also the safe course. Politics can be quite dangerous to the average American’s employment. While almost no one goes to jail for political speech, suppression of free speech in the United States comes instead by getting fired.

    Those who don’t have to fear this are uncommon. For most Americans free speech is just an illusion. That’s one reason why I, as a college professor protected by tenure, always felt it a duty to speak out, and often to speak out in opposition to those in power.

  11. kt Avatar

    By another shoe, DC, do you mean an Appeal by BLM and the Cattle Industry?

    Or do you mean renewed attempts to give away more public resources to needy public lands Welfare Ranchers like Simplot? I think we can expect the worst from the incestuous Idaho mafia now running Interior. In between glam shots at National Parks, I’m sure the Kempthorne Interior Department will do its best to dole out all it can to ranchers – especially now that industry yes-man Jim Caswell is replacing Kathleen Clarke as BLM head.


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Ralph Maughan