The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2493 and, if it were presented to the
President, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture would
recommend that he veto the bill.
H.R. 2493 would increase significantly the administrative burden on the Bureau
of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service (FS) while diminishing their
stewardship of public lands. It could also create a new grazing property
"right" on Federal lands and increase litigation. Further, it would undermine
the improvements in communication and consensus-building that have been
accomplished by the existing Resource Advisory Councils (RACs).
Among its more objectionable provisions H.R. 2493 would:
Create a potential for increased litigation and undermine multiple land
uses. The bill's poorly defined monitoring standards could result in
considerable litigation. In addition, the bill may give rise to litigation by
permittees seeking to establish a grazing property right on Federal lands.
Permittees could attempt, in effect, to create a dominant use and threaten all
other users of the land and limit the Federal government's ability to protect
natural resources. Land management agencies could face "takings" claims
whenever they propose livestock reductions or modifications in grazing
management. Further, the requirement that Federal land managers notify
permittees of monitoring activities 48 hours in advance could severely hamper
the government's efforts to protect public lands.
Undermine the success of the existing RACS. The bill would eliminate
the current consensus approach to decision making that has worked well in
fostering cooperative working relationships between RAC members. It also
appears to limit the role of the new RACs to grazing issues, thus further
undermining their usefulness.
Establish costly, rigid, burdensome, and counterproductive monitoring
requirements that would undercut the ability of Federal land managers to
protect the land. These requirements would limit Federal discretion to
respond to changes in range management research and technological advances and
would ultimately invite increased litigation and judicially imposed solutions.
In addition, the bill would prohibit the use of valid monitoring data from
sources other than those listed and would require the costly development of
new site specific monitoring protocols.
Increase the complexity of the grazing fee schedule with little or no return
to the Federal Treasury and eliminate certain surcharges on grazing fees.
The bill would establish an administratively cumbersome process for developing
a new fee schedule that would not achieve an equitable return to the U.S.
Treasury for grazing privileges. In addition, it would eliminate the BLM's
ability to impose a surcharge on permittees who charge third-parties to graze
livestock on their allotments while simultaneously requiring the FS to allow
such subleasing. These changes could result in a significant reduction in