The House Interior appropriations bill passed through committee by a vote of 29 to 19 Tuesday. The bill allocates how federal dollars are spent for the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency and related agencies during Fiscal Year 2015. It includes language that Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Federal Lands Executive Director Dustin Van Liew says are important to keeping livestock producers in business – such as blocking the listing of Sage Grouse and requiring alternative allotments where ranchers are impacted by drought or wildfire without the need to complete extensive environmental analyses. The bill also includes a permanent extension of a grazing rider that would allow livestock grazing to continue while the renewal process is held up through the National Environmental Policy Act analysis backlog. Another provision in the bill is to extend grazing permit terms to 20-years. Van Liew says both provisions are vital to the agencies and add significantly to the certainty ranchers need to run successful businesses. The PLC and NCBA applaud the committee for supporting the primary language from the Grazing Improvement Act and urge the full House and Senate to pass the bill without delay.
NCBA Environmental Counsel Ashley McDonald says cattle producers have grave concerns over EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act. NCBA applauds the committee for sending the bill forward with language that would prevent the agencies from finalizing this regulation. McDonald says the bill will also prevent EPA from requiring livestock operations to report their greenhouse gas emissions and from requiring operations to get GHG permits. She says the bill provides needed safeguards for the privacy and property rights of America’s cattle producers that the federal agencies refuse to recognize and respect.
Source: NAFB News Service