Mike Simpson Believes his Bighorn and Grazing Riders will Pass.

Yesterday it was reported by Rocky Barker that Idaho Representative Mike Simpson believes that the bighorn and grazing riders are likely to make it into law. The riders, attached to the Fiscal Year 2012 – House Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill, would essentially do two things.

First, the Bighorn Rider would shut down any process that the BLM or Forest Service might undertake that might eliminate or reduce domestic sheep grazing in an effort to protect bighorn sheep from the fatal diseases that they carry for a period of five years.  Ostensibly it is to allow scientists to develop vaccines which would be given to bighorn sheep so that the diseases wouldn’t kill them.  This is a pipe dream dreamed up to delay any impacts to woolgrowers who graze near bighorn sheep herds.

SEC. 442. None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act through fiscal year 2016 may be used to plan or carry out any action or any subsequent agency regulation for managing bighorn sheep (whether native or nonnative) populations on any parcel of Federal land (as defined in section 3 of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6502)) if the action may or will result in a reduction in the number of domestic livestock permitted to graze on the parcel or in the distribution of livestock on the parcel.

Second, the Grazing Rider would make it so that the BLM or Forest Service would not have to go through the NEPA process for grazing permit renewals as long as they renew the permit with the exact same terms and conditions.

This is a big gift to ranchers who have been complaining loudly that environmentalists, such as myself, are being too successful at challenging grazing decisions and grazing in general.  They don’t want any outside interference in their little scheme to control public lands.   They’d rather that they had exclusive rights to the land and don’t want any public input on how it should be managed.

The way it is now is pretty good for them because the agencies are already captured by them and they have the politicians and the media wrapped around their little fingers.

After doing a little research on the Environmental Working Group’s Farm Subsidy Database I found a list of woolgrowers who are doing just dandy under the current system.  A few politicians and former politicians are just raking in the subsidies while, at the same time, the American public is getting the shaft.  Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest of us.

Highland Livestock & Land, Inc. received payments totaling $253,160 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2008
David A Little
Adam B Little
Brad Little

Soulen Livestock Co received payments totaling $1,246,818 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2010
Phil Soulen
Harry Soulen
Teresa Little
Margaret Soulen Hinson
Helen M Stevenson

Faulkner Land & Livestock Co Inc received payments totaling $1,659,851 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2008
Laura Jo Faulkner
John Faulkner
Michael Faulkner
Mark Faulkner
Jack Faulkner

Sawtooth Sheep Inc received payments totaling $652,754 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2008
Michael Faulkner
Mark Faulkner
Jack Faulkner

Siddoway Sheep Co Inc received payments totaling $993,075 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2008
Fremont County, Idaho
John Clark Siddoway
Billie Jean Siddoway
Jodie Siddoway
Jefferey Siddoway
Cindy Siddoway
Jeanne Siddoway
Braidyn Siddoway

Flat Top Sheep Co received payments totaling $970,139 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2010
John T Peavey
Tom Peavey

Pickett Ranch & Sheep Co received payments totaling $1,876,136 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2010
Don F Pickett
Hal G Pickett
David J Pickett
Douglas T Pickett

Frank Shirts Jr received payments totaling $988,388 from 1995 through 2010
Ron Shirts received payments totaling $260,755 from 1995 through 2010
Cenarrusa Sheep Incorporated received payments totaling $427,425 from 1995 through 2010
Noh Sheep Company received payments totaling $249,314 from 1995 through 2010


  1. Daniel Berg Avatar
    Daniel Berg

    This kind of stuff infuriates me.

  2. Elk275 Avatar

    I just sent and e mail with this information to the chairman of the wild sheep foundation who is a very good friend of mind. I want to see what there reaction is to this.

  3. Mike Avatar

    Hey Idaho, please stop screwing the rest of the country with your garbage. Thanks.

  4. Ken Cole Avatar

    Idaho Public Television’s ‘Dialogue’ will be discussing the bighorn issue tomorrow night.


  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    This is another example of we the 99% versus the privileged 1% with their subsidy checks, often well over a million dollars. That 1% is not all on Wall Street.

    Everyone should look at the Farm Subsidy Database figures for these sheep growers.

  6. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Is it possible to see how much of this subsidy money is channeled back into the Idaho polititians pockets? I can’t believe that they like those smelly, disease carrying domestic sheep. I think Simpson has one hand holding his nose and the other in his pocket jingling all the money he got from this deal.

  7. Maska Avatar

    These are just two of a whole collection of awful riders proposed for attachment or already attached to the Interior Appropriations Bill. One of the nastiest, proposed by New Mexico Second District Congressman Steve Pearce, would defund the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program, thus dooming the animal to its second extinction in the United States.

    Unless some courageous Senators demand a clean bill with a promise to filibuster anything less, or the President makes it clear that anything less is unacceptable and will be vetoed, I’m afraid we’ll see the piecemeal destruction of NEPA and the deliberate extinction of more than one endangered or threatened species at the hands of this Congress.

    1. timz Avatar

      So let us see if the Democrats led by Obummer have the balls to stop this crap.

  8. Kropotkin man Avatar
    Kropotkin man

    I’m curious as to what others are seeing when it comes to the use of NEPA. From my position up the holler, I’m seeing more and more end runs around it (NEPA). At times I feel I’m working for private industry and not the feds. More and more programmatic agreements are being put into place that allow for projects to move forward quickly and with little review. I’m also seeing projects being under rated to avoid EAs, etc.

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      That’s exactly what my fear is. I think that rather than honestly evaluating the impacts of grazing on any particular allotment they will fudge things so that it appears that they are meeting all of the standards for rangeland health so that they can reissue the permit without any changes to the terms and conditions of the permit.

      I’m sorry, but I have seen too many lies come out of the BLM to have any trust for them. I honestly think they would manipulate things just to avoid doing any NEPA.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Yes, and where is the major media coverage?

    3. jdubya Avatar

      I am confused. I thought the Republicans were claiming that Obama had erected huge regulatory burdens on the public that are stifling jobs and innovation. What you are implying is that the BLM is cutting corners in the NEPA process? How can that be?

  9. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    This was recieveced in an email today and I thought it related to several recent topics regarding congress.

    In a recent interview with CNBC, Warren Buffett offered the following quote about the debt ceiling:

    “I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.
    The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971, before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.”
    Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land, all because of public pressure. Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn, ask each of those to do likewise.
    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
    Congressional Reform Act of 2011
    1) No Tenure / No Pension.
    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when out of office.
    2) Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
    3) Congressmen can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
    4) Congress will no longer vote itself a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
    5) Congress loses its current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
    6) Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
    7) All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
    Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole