Rancher loses BLM fight in the US Supreme Court

Frank Robbins isn’t just any rancher. He moved to Wyoming from the South and purchased a large ranch north of Thermopolis. There has been controversy ever since. His lawsuit against BLM employees as individuals, rather than as agents of the government, was unprecedented. A different outcome would have made the BLM an even weaker agency than it already is when is comes to protecting the land from overgrazing and other abuses.

Story. Wilkie v. Robbins, rancher loses in high court. AP

Analysis June 27, by Brodie Farquhar. Rancher’s tactics didn’t fly. Casper Star Tribune.
p.s. The attorney from Advocates for the West and Western Watersheds Project is Laird Lucas, not Blair Lucas, as printed in the article.







  1. mikarooni Avatar

    Conservatonists also need to be made aware of who stepped up to serve as Robbins’ lawyers, their history, what they have been involved with in the past, and how their participation might raise the chances that Robbins and this suit were intended to be about a lot more than just a squabble over an access road. The Trojan Horse was not about equine sculpture and the conservation community needs to know what’s really up with both this case and these particular lawyers.

  2. No1Cowboy Avatar

    Listen to what Mikarooni says. This fight–and it WAS a fight–was more about greed, power and money. Locking up public lands from neighbors and the general public was a defacto claim of ‘ownership’ over them. That, coupled with the belief that with enough money anything is possible, are both the seeds and fuel of the conflict. Chronic overgrazing on public land was the proximate trigger, but the fight was over who controlled public lands leased by Robbins and the aurthority of the BLM to require access and reasonable stewardship. Robbins refusal, over several years, to acknowledge the BLMs role in the managment of public lands was the final straw. Robbins’ neighbors are still celebrating!

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I had heard that Robbins would not grant access to some of his neighbors to their own property.


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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Ralph Maughan