HELENA, Mont. (March 30, 2022) – The Montana Public Lands Council (MPLC) shared its disappointment today as the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Malta Office issued its proposed decision regarding the American Prairie Reserve Change-of-Use.
“As the state’s largest organization representing individuals who graze on public lands, our members are very familiar with the permit processes and what processes should be followed. We feel this proposed decision did not take into account the additional vetting and analysis needed to make a decision. Our organization has brought forth in previous comments the legality of bison’s grazing eligibility under the Taylor Grazing Act as well as concerns regarding rangeland health and the protection of riparian areas.”Vicki Olson, MPLC Chair
The proposed decision favors the APR in the majority of changes requested. Four allotments will be allowed to change the class of livestock from cattle to bison, change authorized seasons-of-use, remove interior fences, consolidate pastures, and the BLM will issue a ten-year grazing permits. Two allotments will be allowed to reconstruct or electrify existing allotment boundary fences and the BLM will issue a ten-year grazing permits. The BLM did not authorize bison on one allotment to allow for continued common cattle grazing.
With this proposed decision, MPLC will work to ensure there is equality in place across all permittees. In the past, MPLC has raised concerns that there appeared to be preferential treatment that has occurred towards the APR and asked for the BLM to retroactively review and reconsider previous requests from cattle permittees who have asked for similar grazing changes, grazing date changes or fence removals requests.
The Montana Public Lands Council (MPLC) is the state’s only organization dedicated to representing Montana public lands grazing users and is the lead state organization in monitoring, initiating, and coordinating actions on priority public lands issues in the state while pursuing legislative and regulatory actions that are the most effective for Montana cattle ranchers.
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