Nearly 60 million acres of BLM land fail to meet agency’s standards for land health

The Bureau of Land Management oversees 245 million acres of public land across the U.S. More than 60% of that rangeland is being managed through leased livestock grazing allotments in Oregon and nine other Western states. But according to the nonpartisan Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, livestock grazing is the main reason why nearly 60 million acres of BLM rangeland fail the agency’s own standards for land health, which are used to assess soil and water quality, among other factors.

High Country News recently reported on PEER’s findings, which also found that BLM state offices are increasingly relying on a federal loophole to renew grazing permits and leases without environmental review, especially in Oregon, Nevada and Idaho.

The 15 minute NPR interview can be accessed here

Peter Lattin is a landscape ecologist, geospatial analyst in Oregon who was working for a contractor that was hired by BLM in 2010 to conduct regional ecological assessments. He resigned from his position when he was told by BLM officials not to include the impact of livestock grazing on land health assessments. He then shared his concerns with PEER and worked with the organization to obtain BLM records through the Freedom of Information Act. Lattin and PEER used that data to create an interactive map that shows the impact of livestock grazing on public land. Chandra Rosenthal is the director of PEER’s Rocky Mountain office in Denver. They join us to talk about their findings.






  1. M Leybra Avatar
    M Leybra

    If it wasn’t grazing land it would be forested & clearcut for timber. It’s called federal land but it’s owned by beef industry barons or timber industry barons or some mining industry barons who all kill off the wildlife. Horses, burros who take up space & eat grass & wolves & mountain lions who have a veal dinner once in awhile, they all have to die. Because the water, the forest, the land, all of it is all for human use, just for the taking. We take it all & we ‘manage’ all other species who never know when their heads will be on the chopping block, for overpopulating. Only the human animal’s allowed to be ‘unmanaged’ & breed like cockroaches & blame everything that results from our actions as some existential threat, we keep referring to as ‘climate change.’ Thank you PEER & stick around bc land health will need u even more when global humanity is predicted to reach 10 billion by the 2050’s. And yes, U.S. moneyed barons export U.S. beef & lumber too.

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Jonathan Ratner

Jonathan Ratner has been in the trenches of public lands conservation for nearly 25 years. He started out doing forest carnivore work for the Forest Service, BLM, and the Inter-agency Grizzly Bear Study Team, with some Wilderness Rangering on the Pinedale Ranger District. That work lead him directly to deal with the gross corruption within the federal agencies' range program.

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Jonathan Ratner