July 15, 2010 – TUCSON, Ariz. – Conservation groups sent a letter to the Obama administration today detailing how the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service can meet the president’s June 8 directive to cut 5 percent from agency budgets: reform or eliminate the money-losing, habitat-destroying public lands livestock grazing program.
“Instead of trimming the budget, the agencies should start by cutting their losses,” said Greta Anderson, Arizona director of Western Watersheds Project. “The fee has failed to keep pace with inflation, failed to cover even the administrative costs of operating the grazing program, and incentivizes destructive grazing practices on public land. In a time of budget crisis, it makes good economic sense to address these issues.”
The two agencies charge a paltry $1.35 monthly fee for each cow and calf that the livestock industry grazes on public land in the West. That’s far below private market rates and far short of providing enough revenue to correct the ecological damage caused by grazing.