Western Watersheds court victory opens up ranchers names to public

No more hush, hush on who has grazing permits on your public lands-

Most people are amazed that the BLM won’t tell them who holds the almost free grazing permits they issue on the public land of the United States, but Western Watersheds and Wild Earth Guardians, represented by Advocates for the West have just won a court victory sweeping aside this contrived mystery.

Idaho federal district courts says BLM has to tell who holds grazing permits. By Rebecca Boone – Associated Press writer in the Magicvalley Times-News.



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  1. Ken Cole Avatar

    This case has always baffled me for two reasons. One, I get the name of the permitee holder for every permit renewal. It’s on the first page of all of them so it’s not a secret. Two, in conversations with attorneys for the Interior Department, people have been told that this case, more than the pattern of illegal decisions made by the BLM, was on the radar of the Justice Department.

    Why is the hiding of the names of the corporations who hold grazing permits more important than following the law? The ecology of the western desert landscape is unravelling and these people are more concerned that the names of ranchers, or the corporations, who hold the permits will be given to the public.

    I bet they appeal this ruling.

  2. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Haven’t we seen this before? A Government agency in desperate need of overhaul, as groups like WWP expose the all to familiar conflict of interest and just aliitle too cozy relationship between livestock interests and Government. WWP is right on the ball- and the whiners in the livestock industry can’t be happy!

  3. JimT Avatar

    A second great court result in a relatively short period of time. I am hoping BLM gets its head on straight, and isn’t pressured into appealing this logical and long overdue transparency of how our public lands are being used by which ranchers….

  4. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    Quick question for clarity; does this ruling apply nationwide, to all states? Not just Dept. of Interior but also USDA- Forest Service/ National Grasslands? Do we have to wait for the requisite appellate process to conclude ( years) in order to throw open the books ?

    And how do we get similar transparency for state land grazing allotments ? In Wyoming, that would be as great an issue, actually.

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar

      the decision applies nationwide to BLM ~ not department of Ag. ~ as I understand it, department of Ag wasn’t holding out like BLM was – they had a policy of producing the info ~ usually.

      doesn’t mean they won’t mess with public. FOIA issues are always like that ~ then, to enforce is costly and it’s a pain.

      state land grazing allotments are administered by the states, thus the transparency laws of respective states apply. still have to be willing to enforce if there’s an issue.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Cody Coyote,

    I don’t know, but for now I assume it is just Idaho unless BLM sends out a directive.

    It is a decision of the Idaho federal district court.

    This is an important question.


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