It is impossible to address an issue if its existence is unknown. I suspect many people are unaware of proposed rules that the Nevada Cattleman’s Association (NCA) said would “most likely result in the financial demise of a significant percentage of family ranch operations.”
Are those words strong enough for us to pay attention? It is not too late to stop this.
The proposed rules are surrounding the plight of the Sage Grouse, which environmental groups want to be listed under the Endangered Species Act as “threatened.” Yet, as I wrote about in detail at Tavern Keepers, the rules will likely not protect the Sage Grouse, just as rules to protect the Desert Tortoise have been ineffective.
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As an aside, the best place I have found for regulations is here, where you can access all open regulatory documents. There are a depressing amount on the Sage Grouse alone. Many are likely unaware of upcoming
legislation rules and regulations written by unelected bureaucrats from the EPA, IRS, FDA and many, many others that can potentially impact your life and your business.
Just today, 103 new regulatory documents have been added. Today alone, comments are closing for 26 documents.
It is reminiscent of a quote by James Madison in The Federalist No. 62.
“The internal effects of a mutable policy are still more calamitous. It poisons the blessing of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”
The Desert Tortoise has not fared better under the “protection” of the Endangered Species Act. This is documented. Yet, activist groups continue to use “strategic litigation” to pressure the government for more protections for the Desert Tortoise, and for many, many other plants and animals.
“We realized that we can bypass the officials and sue, and that we can get things done in court,” said the Center for Biodiversity’s Kierán Suckling.
Many of these activist groups openly bash livestock grazing on their websites. So, instead of advocating for something, they seem to be advocating against something.
Studies have found that grazing reduces wildfires, which is cited as one of the main threats to the Sage Grouse. In fact, research shows that “since the 1970s, the frequency of wildfires has increased at least four-fold.” Is there a connection?
As I wrote at the Brenner Brief,
“For example, an academic study by Kirk Davies, et al., suggests cattle grazing minimizes fire damage. Fire is a major factor in the destruction of the Sage Grouse habitat. Wildfires have also increased in severity in Nevada and California as grazing has declined. “
Many others have also observed the correlation between severe wildfires and declining grazing activities. Yet, completely legitimate academic studies that find any benefit to grazing are left out of the supporting evidence used to justify listing the Sage Grouse as threatened.
Consider the following excerpt taken from meeting minutes of NDOW’s “Sagebrush Ecosystem Council” from October:
“…much of Dr. Davies’s research, especially that related to the benefits of moderate livestock grazing, has been largely ignored in recent agency literature review documents on Greater Sage-grouse….The omissions, whether intentional or accidental, are glaring….”
During a House Hearing from 2004 titled, “Wildfires in the West: Is the Bush Administration’s response adequate?” representatives from the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Fire Commission submitted a statement saying in part,
“Vegetation and fuel management, habitat preservation, and environmental protection have often conflicted with sound fire safe planning in the development of wild land areas. When adverse weather and fuel conditions combine, our fire fighters have been given the impossible task of protecting life and property in the face of these policy conflicts.”
In 2007, John Berlau of the American Thinker observed that although “climate change” was being blamed for the increased intensity of the wildfires, “…environmentalists have hamstrung Californians in their efforts to clear the dry brush [to protect certain species] that is providing the fuel for this massive fire.”
The seeming goal of many of these radical environmental organizations is to designate the most land possible under the the highest protection of “wilderness,” (i.e., roadless, no grazing, no ATVs, etc). Some have made the connection that wilderness designations really has nothing to do with protecting the environment, and is more likely a part of a United Nations initiative referred to as Agenda 21.
As the standard of living continues to fall and as prices rise, it should be noted that designating wilderness areas is often devastating to local economies. It is not a stretch to think that further destruction of the beef industry would not fare well for consumers.
While climate change is the preferred scapegoat for the increasing intensity of wildfires in the West, it seems that the policies imposed by radical environmentalists are more likely to blame. In the meantime, all relevant studies should be included in background documentation for the Sage Grouse.