Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Western Watersheds Project Files Two Federal Court Cases in Wyoming

Friends, Western Watersheds Project welcomes the New Year with two new federal court cases filed in Wyoming !

WWP Challenges the Wyoming BLM Lander Field Office's Authorization of Livestock Grazing on the Green Mountain Common Allotment

WWP has conteste livestock management on the 520,000 acre Green Mountain Common allotment located south of Jeffrey City, Wyoming for more than a decade.
Last June, Administrative Law Judge Harvey Sweitzer vacated BLM's decision to authorize grazing on the allotment in response to a request for summary judgment accompanying WWP's administrative appeal.  That BLM decision would have extended the failed status quo management in addition to constructing 32 miles of new fencing in an area that is currently the largest unfenced landscape on public lands in the American West.

In response to WWP's succesful administrative challenge, BLM removed from the decision the proposed new fencing but immediately reissued a new decision which includes threat of the same degradation of riparian areas and rampant trespass as has taken place in previous years. This time, WWP is taking action in federal court to force BLM to correct these environmental problems.
The case has been assigned to the new Wyoming federal District Judge Nancy Freudenthal.
Thanks to attorney Natalie Havlina of Advocates For the West for preparing and filing this Complaint, WWP's Wyoming Director Jonathan Ratner, Dr. John Carter, WWP supporter and soil scientist Don Clarke and many others for all their support and expertise ennobling this important challenge of the Bureau of Land Management on over 500,000 acres of the Green Mountain Common Allotment.

WWP Challenges Livestock Grazing on the Split Rock Allotments of Wyoming BLM's Lander Field Office

A year ago, Western Watersheds Project appealed a Bureau of Land Management decision to authorize continued livestock grazing on over 100,000 acres of public land in a group of Wyoming BLM grazing allotments known as the Split Rock Allotments.
These allotments are adjacent to the Green Mountain Common allotment and also administered by the Lander Field Office of the BLM.  The allotments are permitted to a partnership of multi-millionaires including Dean Singleton, the primary owner of one of the largest media empires in the United States, the Media News Group that owns the Denver Post and the San Jose Mercury News among many other holdings. Another of the permittees is Dallas Horton, a Colorado veterinarian and owner of cattle feedlots and slaughterhouses.  The allotments also include the largest single sage grouse lek in all of Wyoming with several hundred male sage grouse attending each spring. 
The number of cattle the BLM approved to graze on the allotments far exceeds any scientifically justified level of use that promises degraded habitat for big game, sage grouse, and other wildlife that rely on the public land.
Having exhausted administrative remedy, and with the representation of WWP's Arizona legal council Erik Ryberg and WWP's Wyoming local council Gay George, Western Watersheds Project recently filed a challenge to the Lander Field Office decision in the Wyoming federal District Court.
This case will be heard by Wyoming federal District Court Judge William F. Downes assisted by Magistrate Judge William Beaman.

Jon Marvel
Executive Director

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