Western Watersheds Project to Testify at House Natural Resources Committee Hearing TOMORROW ~ July 12, 2018

Western Watersheds Project

WWP’s Executive Director Erik Molvar in D.C.

Western Watersheds Project is proud to have been invited by Congressman Raúl Grijalva to testify at the House Committee on Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing tomorrow. The oversight hearing is called, “The Essential Role of Livestock Grazing on Federal Lands and Its Importance to Rural America” and we expect WWP’s Executive Director Erik Molvar to set the committee straight on the issue.

In prepared comments, Erik makes plain the ecological, economic, and cultural fallacies of the public lands grazing program. From invasive weeds to subsidies, WWP is going to make sure that Congress hears the truth tomorrow.

You can tune in to watch the hearing live or check the archives later. But don’t miss WWP in action!

Thursday, July 12, 2018 10:00 AM EST   (8:00 AM MTN, 7:00 AM PST) 

Cheer us on and support us here!

27 replies »

  1. What a farce!! with a title like this?? “The oversight hearing is called, “The Essential Role of Livestock Grazing on Federal Lands and Its Importance to Rural America” The die is cast—they have a biased attitude and the “hearing” is just a grudging formality.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “What can be done to address the problems associated with public lands livestock grazing? There is a simple answer: end it. Get the cows and sheep off, let the wild creatures reclaim their native habitat, and send the ranchers a bill for the cost of restoration”
    -Welfare Ranching


    • I wrote turds not tires. Auto correct says while catering a horse it’s in charge. So put turds in place of tires.


  3. Watched some of this and agree the introductory comments predetermine the outcome. It is interesting that some speakers warned of rural community “collapse” that would harm “visitors” experiences as one argument supporting cattle grazing.

    Also interesting they mention only cattle (not sheep) grazing, and carefully avoid any mention that the benefits they accrue to grazing for ruminants are magnified in wild equines. Can’t have grazing be great for one argument and “cancerous” for another. Orwell would be proud.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The title “essential” referring to grazing certainly states the end result of this “hearing”. The little smirks & chuckling between these supposed public servants in regard to anything Mr. Molvar said certainly made it obvious exactly how much they would listen to anything at all. But then this is the Natural Resources Committee chaired by Rob Bishop! I do feel Dr. Nagle did not completely agree with the other 2 ranchers surrogates – but wasnt willing to admit it – after all he works for the University of Montana. Incidentally, is Congressman Grivalja a member of this committee – after all he invited WWP to be there. The pro-ranching members sure do out-weigh the “others”!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Erik Molvar provided great information in his testimony but the meeting was completely stacked in favor of public welfare ranchers – no doubt about it.
    I thought that the question to Molvar about his personal eating habits (do you eat meat?) was highly inappropriate and supports the obvious bias of the entire meeting.


    WHO would buy up grazing permits?

    Turmoil shakes up agency in charge of vast US lands
    February 19, 2018

    The differing views illustrate longstanding tensions over the role of America’s public lands — an amalgam of pristine wilderness, recreational playgrounds and abundant energy reserves.
    Oil and gas groups in particular have embraced the concept of change for an agency once seen as an obstacle to drilling. The withdrawal or cancellation of Obama-era rules on fracking and methane emissions from oil and gas exploration were positive first steps, they say.

    Next comes getting Interior staff on board, said Kathleen Sgamma with the Western Energy Alliance, which promotes giving oil and gas companies’ access to federal lands.
    U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the House Natural Resources Committee’s ranking Democrat, said Zinke’s actions have made it easier to pollute federal lands and waters while giving special interest groups more influence.

    “He’s in over his head,” Grijalva said.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ranchers would have been wise to align themselves with Federally Protected WH&B Advocates rather than alienating and infuriating the taxpaying public by pushing for roundups and removals

    Here’s the Beef: How NAFTA Kissed the West Goodbye
    April 15, 2016

    “Ironically, ranchers, under assault from environmentalists for destructive grazing practices, reflexively aligned themselves with some of the more vicious incarnations of the property rights movement, such as the Colorado-based People for the West!, long funded by mining and oil interests.”

    As the small ranches go under, their land is either picked up by agribusiness giants like J.R. Simplot or billionaires playing cowboy like David Packard, or subdivided for the dreary ranchettes that disfigure southern Colorado.

    Blame NAFTA. With the signing of the trade agreement came truckloads of Mexican calves, headed for the feedlots and slaughterhouses north of the border. The influx of these Mexican calves produced a meat glut in the United States, driving the prices down to levels disastrous for marginal operations on the arid grasslands of the Interior West.

    The value of the ranch–and hence the approval of the bank or insurance company financing his mortgage–depends entirely on his access to publicly owned grass and water. Even if the rancher wants to reduce the number of cattle he’s running to ease the stress on the grasslands, the banks will insist that he continue with the highest stocking rates permitted by the feds, since he will thus be a better risk. This is a primary reason America’s rangelands are in such an impoverished ecological condition.

    When the feds have tried to reduce the number of cattle on the public range to protect fragile riparian habitat for endangered trout and salmon, the U.S. government has been sued for breach of contract by the banks, notably the Farm Credit Bank of Texas, which holds half a billion dollars in loans that are tied to federal grazing permits.

    Watching the impending ruin of many small ranchers with a keen anticipation are the mining companies. As the fortunes of the ranchers decline, those of the gold companies are on the rise.

    Ironically, ranchers, under assault from environmentalists for destructive grazing practices, reflexively aligned themselves with some of the more vicious incarnations of the property rights movement, such as the Colorado-based People for the West!, long funded by mining and oil interests.

    Some of the big environmental groups are also cheering. Anything that does down a rancher is okay with them. That’s one of the reasons groups like the National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Defense Council shilled for NAFTA–they said the agreement would push inefficient industries out of business. Let them wait until the Interior West vanishes under ranchette driveways, toxic cyanide piles from heap-leach gold mining, or ends up in the hands of J.R. Simplot Company.



  7. Cranky old grandma comment:
    During the question period of this highly bias meeting, Erik Molvar was asked about his personal eating habits – did he eat meat. Obviously this meeting and particularly this question was to discredit the highly credible Erik Molvar but asking him what he eats was a rude low-blow by the committee. Molvar’s personal eating habits are none of the committee’s business and although McClintock got a chuckle out of it, I think it was rude and crude and highly ill-mannered to ask. It made me want to ask all the committee members if they all used Viagra!


    • Very little beef comes from the welfare ranchers . I think it is only 3 % or less. I hope Erik said that. Haven’t had time to listen yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It was an out of bounds question that nobody else was required to answer, but Erik did so eloquently and tactfully. It also had nothing to do with the topic at hand since (as he explained) the entire public lands grazing proportion of our national (and export) meat supply could disappear and hardly be noticed, and prices at the groceries would not even increase (this also brought some smirks from others). Something to consider is most ranchers I know keep a few head for their own tables anyway, so they would still be eating beef or sheep so grocery store prices aren’t an issue for them or their friends.

      WWP is a small nonprofit which often delivers big results. They are understaffed and underfunded, and are neutral to positive on the wild horse and burro concerns. I encourage everyone to check them out and donate if you find their work congruent with your own efforts.

      (I’m not affiliated, nor are any relatives, but have donated in the past after grilling them on wild horse matters)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I realize that WWP’s main goal does not necessarily include wild horses and burros but they certainly do know and have spoken up about the BLM’s bias management toward our wild horses and burros. Here is a paragraph from one lawsuit they filed.

        “Despite these admissions that grazing and other factors have caused serious degradation of the sagebrush-steppe and sage-grouse populations in the Ely Field Office, BLM refused to explore in meaningful detail the ways in which domestic livestock grazing has contributed to these degradation conditions, or ways to rectify the
        situation. Instead of candidly assessing the impacts that livestock have, BLM has also blamed wild horses as supposedly causing rangeland degradation, even though domestic livestock vastly outnumber wild horses in the Ely Field Office.”


    • Reading Katie Fite’s observations certainly makes clear that – not only is the BLM moving horses from one place
      to another – in order to create problems – but as we all have assumed, cattle are there whether they are supposed to be or not! And if they arent “supposed” to be in an area – well, of course any degradation is caused by wild horses! What a bunch of bull.


  8. THIS is the reason for my comment about caution as Congress talks about buying out grazing permits.
    The ranchers have been very useful in getting rid of WH&B on public lands
    NOW the next step is to get the ranchers off the public lands…they are no longer useful

    This article written by Debbie Coffey in 2012 says it all. She did some FANTASTIC research and it is well worth reading.

    The Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting (April 2012), was the first meeting including Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar’s new appointee, Callie Hendrickson. Hendrickson has served as an Executive Board member of the National Association of Conservation Districts, and works for the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation District in Colorado.

    The Nature Conservancy (TNC), is also a member of IUCN and participates in and promotes many UN programs, which ALL promote Agenda 21. TNC is a “non-profit” that pulled in over $925 million in just one year (2010 tax form). Their contractors include Tetra Tech, the huge environmental company that prepares Resource Management Plans and Environmental Assessments for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The public is led to believe that The Nature Conservancy buys land with private money and sets up nature reserves to help the environment.

    But Tom DeWeese describes the reality: “The Nature Conservancy buys private land from owners (usually at drastically reduced, land-grab prices) who think it will remain in private hands and then sells it to the government! In fact, TNC has sold more than 9 million acres to the government at a nice profit.”

    “The Nature Conservancy frequently uses phony front companies to get land” and it purchased “most of the islands off the coast of Virginia, containing 40,000 acres and sixty miles of coastline. In doing so, The Nature Conservancy was able to stop all private development and control the use of the land, damaging the tax base, killing thousands of jobs, and severely curbing the locals from hunting, fishing, camping and joy riding on the islands.

    Don’t think the purpose was to preserve these beautiful, pristine islands for nature. The Nature Conservancy did bar others from developing the land, but not itself. Far from it, at a huge profit, the Conservancy developed upscale homes for the rich.”

    Lee Pitts wrote in Agri-News: “TNC is involved in oil production and receives oil royalties.” “It hides behind phony corporations; serves as a shill for government agencies; and works behind the scenes with more visible environmental groups to intimidate property owners into selling. Its power, wealth, and control is almost beyond comprehension.”

    Range Magazine published an article about The Nature Conservancy in 2003, and pointed out that TNC was “capable of manipulating governments, including that of the United States, endowed with assets amounting to nearly $3 billon…It would be directly in control of some 90 million acres worldwide, with more than 12 million acres…in the United States.”



  9. It pays to keep your friends close and your enemies even closer…don’t know who said it but it’s good advice

    From The Source from The House Committee on Natural Resources

    Amazing Graze

    Cows stole the spotlight this week during a Federal Lands oversight hearing on the importance of livestock grazing on federal lands. Witnesses testified about the numerous benefits that responsible cattle grazing has on public land, as well as the regulatory processes unnecessarily restricting ranchers from accessing needed resources.

    It’s high time that inefficient regulations mooooooove out of the way to let American farmers thrive (https://twitter.com/NatResources/status/1017403076452315136
    and allow this important public-private partnership to be sustained for future generations (see comments under this article).


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