Friday, March 5, 2010

Just in from the Range

BLM: Cancel WWP's Grazing Permit

Challis--The Bureau of Land Management wants to terminate Western Watersheds Project’s grazing permits for the Greenfire Preserve on the East Fork of the Salmon River near Challis.

Two leaders of the group were cited by a BLM special agent for making false statements.
Jonathan Marvel of Western Watershed Project of Hailey and Gordon Younger of Seattle were cited by Agent Kent Kleman for ‘knowingly and willfully making a false statements’ on grazing allotments in the Challis District.

Dave Rosenkrance of the BLM Challis field office said he had no choice but to cancel the permits because WWP had “loss of control over the base ranch property, failure to maintain range improvements and making false statements on grazing applications." He added that the permit was never used for livestock grazing as required.

“It’s high time they called him (Marvel) on it,” said John Falen of the Public Lands Council. “None of the rest of us operating out here on public lands could get away with what he has. He’s been the biggest thorn in the side of the BLM than any other permitee.”

The permit covers three grazing allotments that include Spud Creek, Bradshaw Basin and Thompson creek and total more than 9,000 acres near the confluence of the Salmon and East Fork of the Salmon River, near Challis.

According to BLM records, on November 6, 2008 the Challis office asked Valley Sun Land and Livestock Company to provide proof of cattle ownership to graze the three allotments in the Challis District. The WWP acknowledged the letter, but didn’t respond to the information request. On December 19, five weeks later the BLM again asked for proof of cattle ownership on the Spud Creek allotment, again they received the request but didn't respond and the BLM sought information again in 2009 before Dave Rosenkrance took action.

"The BLM is looking for excuses to cancel the permits and hand it over to adjoining ranchers," Jonathan Marvel told the Idaho Mountain Express. "It's clear the BLM has a bias for ranchers."
Rosenkrance wrote that Marvel and Valley Sun “has shown no indication of actually using the grazing permit for livestock grazing use” as required by the Taylor Grazing Act. Between 2001 and 2009 the group applied for non-use of the permit, never intending, according to the BLM to actually graze cattle on the land.

The Valley Sun LLC said in BLM documents that it was in the process of buying livestock and wished to designate non-use for conservation purposes. Yet, according to the BLM they never turned cattle out on the allotments. Rosenkrance told the Challis Messenger that they could have bought livestock on any Friday at the Blackfoot auction, “it shouldn’t have taken the group years to buy cattle.”
Jennifer Ellis of the Western Legacy Alliance says that WWP needs to play by the same rules as everyone else, "We've been saying for years that grazing permits are for grazing, not for pushing radical agendas at taxpayer expense."

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