A house subcommittee is focusing on grazing on public lands on Thursday. Republican leaders want to discuss what they call the regulatory burdens on the industry.
The Trump Administration wants to revise a number of environmental regulations, but so far, livestock grazing hasn’t been a big part of the national discussion. At the hearing, livestock advocates and opponents will share their take on grazing management.
Erik Molvar is with the Western Watersheds Project. He says the grazing industry needs more regulation, not less.
"We need to prevent the kind of overgrazing and widespread damage that’s happening to wildlife habitat and trout and salmon streams," Molvar says.
But some revision is needed so ranchers can have more flexibility according to Idaho’s Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, who is currently running for governor on the GOP ticket. He’ll testify at the hearing about the role of ranchers in rural areas who he says need support from the federal government.
"Those ranchers are the backbone of those communities--they’re on the school board, the hospital board. They’re there year in and year out supporting the communities."
The Bureau of Land Management alone manages more than 155 million acres of grazing rangeland, much of which is in the West.
Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher .
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This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado .