Clinton legacy, chapter 243: One of his judges stops Bush’s deregulation of livestock grazing

This is by Ray Ring in Goat, a High Country News blog. It provides the most information so far on the defeat of Bush’s new public land grazing regulations, an analysis what these people are up to, and thoughts of the public lands and the federal courts and judges.

One of Clinton’s judicial appointments stops Bush on grazing. Ray Ring. Goat.

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    one of the implications of the case that is undercovered ~ and my thoughts are, one of the most important ~ is the privatization of public assets on these allotments, including water rights on 160,000,000 acres of thankfully still public land. Had ranchers acquired partial and even entire private ownership of water developments, fencing, range “improvements”, and water – the incursion of private property right caselaw would have emerged in the courts as a perilous contestation to conservation efforts at environmental regulation… this would have mired regulatory efforts and conservation litigation efforts to the core.

    that is to say nothing of the hyper-inflated economic asset acquisition which would have undermined “free” market principles even more favorably toward large corporate ranchers/allotment holders – to the detriment of smaller operations and the economic principle that the solvency of a business ought be representative of its actual economic performance rather than a co-dependence on public subsidy – of course, that principle is already dead in the public land ranching community.

    the water rights implications are similarly staggering. think of the water battles in the courts already ~ then consider that water is a commodity which does not have alternatives, is scarce, and VERY valuable. 160,000,000 acres ! That is a huge victory for the public interest and the conservation community in the beginning battles of what promises to be a fierce future of water wars.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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