HELENA, Mont. (July 29, 2022) – Today, Montana Public Lands Council (MPLC) Chair, Vicki Olson, issued the following statement regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final decision for the American Prairie change for bison on seven grazing allotments:
“As the state’s largest organization representing individuals who graze on public lands, the final decision issued by the BLM is a failure to our public lands system. We feel this final decision did not take into account the additional vetting and analysis needed to make a proper decision and the rangeland will be the ultimate victim. Past experience has proven bison graze differently than cattle, yet that was not considered in this decision.
MPLC members pride themselves on the decades of stewardship and positive impacts we have made on federal lands as a result of using management tools like cattle grazing. The BLM’s failure to do a full EIS, truly analyze the socioeconomic impacts of this request, and oversight to acknowledge the legality of bison’s grazing eligibility under the Taylor Grazing Act not only sets a precedence for public land grazing across the west but also impacts all public land users.
BLM continues to give a blind eye and preferential treatment to this specific permittee and that is not only unjust for the permittees who follow all requirements laid before them by the BLM but also to the land. This federal agency is responsible to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands and with this decision, the land will ultimately be the thing that is sacrificed.”
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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