Wild Burros

THE TRUTH #29 – BLM’s big gift to livestock grazing on public lands: Outcome Based Grazing Authorizations (OBGA) allows grazing permittees to increase the numbers of their privately owned livestock and to use more forage for longer periods of time on public lands.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #29 – BLM’s big gift to livestock grazing on public lands: Outcome Based Grazing Authorizations (OBGA) allows grazing permittees to increase the numbers of their privately owned livestock and to use more forage for longer periods of time on public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has “demonstration” projects now, but intends to make widespread use of Outcome Based Grazing Authorizations (OBGA).

Outcome Based Grazing Authorizations:

1)  Seem to bypass the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), (possibly with excessive use of Categorical Exclusions – CXs).

2)  The “flexibility” described actually means that the permittee (with a compliant BLM) can use more forage, have more animals, and more time on the range, than their grazing permit allocates. 

3) Will be used to activate suspended use on allotments.

4)  Per the FOIA records, it sounds like this plan was cooked up to cater to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council (PLC).  Per PLC, “Since 1968, the Public Lands Council (PLC) has actively represented the cattle and sheep producers who hold public lands grazing permits.”

5)  The BLM is basically privatizing the management of public lands.

6)  It looks like there is “additional funding” being discussed with OBGA

7)  All this, while there is a drought in the West and the BLM is removing wild horses & burros to extinction.

In an Aug. 1, 2017 email (in FOIA documents below), Kristin Bail (BLM Asst. Dir. of Resources & Planning), wrote “…I would like a briefing paper that outlines what flexibility currently exists under our existing regs and permit processes and how offices may employ these flexibilities.  I know that Idaho is doing certain things now, it would be helpful to understand the full suite of what is possible.  I’d also like a better understanding of the litigation that was referred to in our meeting that appears to (?) limit our flexibility…”

Who are the first livestock grazing permittees to line up at this trough?

Read the rest of this article and see FOIA documents HERE.


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19 replies »

  1. Well by all means – we MUST give the permittees more flexibility in their allotments! I didnt notice much said about the wild horses – altho one allotment had degraded? areas “before livestock was put on it”!!!!!! And there was a mention of “beaver management” on one of the others. As I recall the beaver population has been pretty much wiped out in far too many states. So the BLM will manage them – great! This just sounds like typical BLM kowtowing to the allotment holders – some who have held these allotments for 40 – some 50 years!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grazing was ALWAYS SUPPOSED TO BE “OUTCOME BASED.” The law allows and expects the BLM and USFS to revoke, rescind, or modify grazing allotments that fail to meet healthy, defined grazing outcomes. This is what is called “resource management” and is part of what we pay them to do. Allotments are supposed to be monitored and adjusted more than once every decade, though this rarely happens due to staff shortages and a bit of cronyism. This is the same old whine in a brand new bottle.

    What I’d like to see is some equity for wild horses and burros, and part of the “outcome” should be that in every place they are legally allowed to exist, no livestock should be allowed to graze. Though this sounds extreme it isn’t; wild horses and burros are allowed on only around 12% of all the land our system allows privately owned livestock to graze. To set them against each other has been part of the plan since the beginning, and as we understand the public trust and the public’s wildlife are set up to fail in support of private, for profit, taxpayer subsizided businesses. This is madness! Recall the definition: doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Weak oversight of public grazing land, thanks to ‘lord of yesterday’
    By Rachael Bale
    January 27, 2015
    Grazing is massively subsidized.
    OK, it’s not an official subsidy, but what do you call it when the government only charges you $1.35 to graze your cow and her calf each month when the private market rate is more like $18?

    You can use your grazing permit as collateral for a loan.
    Maintaining your permit to graze on public lands is such a sure bet that many banks accept it as a form of collateral. Permits are granted in 10-year intervals, and as long as the rancher stays in the government’s good graces, renewal is pretty much guaranteed. Permits are often passed down from generation to generation. The IRS even assigns them monetary value, based on market rates, for tax purposes.
    Regulatory capture plays a big role in how grazing policy works.
    “In spite of the impressive amount of on-the-ground data showing the poor condition of the land, BLM officials have continued the time-honored system of deferring to the ranching industry,” wrote Charles Wilkinson in “Crossing the Next Meridian.”
    On one side, you have the cattle industry. It has had more than 100 years to develop its legislative power. These are people fighting for their livelihoods and way of life. On the other, you have conservationists and outdoorsmen, who are considerably less organized and have less time to devote. Plus, the actual on-the-ground government regulators live in the same communities as the people they regulate.
    “They’re the ones who have to meet the ranchers on the street and in the grocery market. It’s not pretty when there’s real conflict,” Wilkinson told Reveal. “That’s a pressure that helps the current system stay roughly in place.”

    Liked by 1 person


    Public lands ranchers even take out loans using permits as collateral. A 1979 survey of appraisers and loan officers in New Mexico showed that they considered Forest Service permits to be worth $944 to $1163 per animal unit and BLM permits $667 to $888 per animal unit (Ferguson 1983). Some ranchmen have taken federal agencies to court over proposed livestock reductions, contending that the government is taking “their” property (Synar 1986). Here in southern Arizona, after a man inherited a public lands ranching operation from a deceased parent, IRS taxed him on the value of the grazing permit as well as the ranch. Indeed, grazing permits are handed down through the generations like priceless family heirlooms. Obviously, both the government and private sectors consider public lands grazing permits of great value

    Click to access Chapter%207%20pp368-371%20and%20373-421.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I’m sure most who read this are already aware, the Taylor Grazing Act expressly and clearly precludes considering any grazing permit as a property right, or collateral. It is definitively a privilege, not a right, and was never intended to be otherwise. That is has been and continues to be ignores is a measure only of corruption and malfeasance, along with limited public demand for submission and consequences.

      Here’s one link, there are of course dozens of others (sorry about the formatting but this is the letter of the law):

      Click to access Taylor-Grazing-Act-1934.pdf

      TAYLOR GRAZING ACT of 1934
      43 U.S.C. §§ 315-316o

      § 315
      . Grazing districts; establishment; restrictions; p
      rior rights; rights-of way; hearing and
      notice; hunting or fishing rights

      § 315a
      . Protection, administration, regulation, and impro
      vement of districts; rules and
      regulations; study of erosion and flood control; of

      § 315b
      . Grazing permits; fees; vested water rights; permi
      ts not to create right in land

      § 315b. Grazing permits; fees; vested water rights;
      permits not to create
      right in land
      The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to issu
      e or cause to be issued permits to graze livestock
      such grazing districts to such bona fide settlers,
      residents, and other stock owners as under his rule
      and regulations are entitled to participate in the
      use of the range, upon the payment annually of
      reasonable fees in each case to be fixed or determi
      ned from time to time in accordance with governing
      law. Grazing permits shall be issued only to citize
      ns of the United States or to those who have filed
      necessary declarations of intention to become such,
      as required by the naturalization laws, and to
      groups, associations, or corporations authorized to
      conduct business under the laws of the State in
      which the grazing district is located. Preference s
      hall be given in the issuance of grazing permits to
      those within or near a district who are landowners
      engaged in the livestock business, bona fide
      occupants or settlers, or owners of water or water
      rights, as may be necessary to permit the proper us
      of lands, water or water rights owned, occupied, or
      leased by them, except that until July 1, 1935, no
      preference shall be given in the issuance of such p
      ermits to any such owner, occupant, or settler, who
      rights were acquired between January 1, 1934, and D
      ecember 31, 1934, both dates, inclusive, except
      that no permittee complying with the rules and regu
      lations laid down by the Secretary of the Interior
      shall be denied the renewal of such permit, if such
      denial will impair the value of the grazing unit o
      f the
      permittee, when such unit is pledged as security fo
      r any bona fide loan. Such permits shall be for a
      period of not more than ten years, subject to the p
      reference right of the permittees to renewal in the
      discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, who sh
      all specify from time to time numbers of stock and
      seasons of use. During periods of range depletion d
      ue to severe drought or other natural causes, or in
      case of a general epidemic of disease, during the l
      ife of the permit, the Secretary of the Interior is
      authorized, in his discretion to remit, reduce, ref
      und in whole or in part, or authorize postponement
      payment of grazing fees for such depletion period s
      o long as the emergency exists: Provided further,
      That nothing in this subchapter shall be construed
      or administered in any way to diminish or impair
      any right to the possession and use of water for mi
      ning, agriculture, manufacture, or other purposes
      which has heretofore vested or accrued under existi
      ng law validly affecting the public lands or which
      may be hereafter initiated or acquired and maintain
      ed in accordance with such law. So far as
      consistent with the purposes and provisions of this
      subchapter, grazing privileges recognized and
      acknowledged shall be adequately safeguarded, but t
      he creation of a grazing district or the issuance o
      a permit pursuant to the provisions of this subchap
      ter shall not create any right, title, interest, or
      in or to the lands.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. DECLARATION OF LLOYD EISENHAUER (excerpt from line 5)

    I Lloyd Eisenhauer, declare as follows:
    I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I am a former Bureau of Land Management

    5, “Traditionally, BLM officials (myself included) have understood that, pursuant to the Wild Horse Act, WILD HORSES HAVE A RIGHT to use BLM lands, so long as their population numbers do not cause unacceptable damage to vegetation or other resources. In stark contrast, however, LIVESTOCK (sheep and cattle) have NO SIMILAR RIGHT to use BLM lands; rather, livestock owners may be granted the PRIVILEGE of using BLM lands for livestock grazing pursuant to a grazing permit that is granted by BLM under the Taylor Grazing Act, but that privilege can be revoked, modified, or amended by BLM for various reasons, including for damage to vegetation or other resources caused by livestock, or due to sparse forage available to sustain livestock after wild horses are accounted for.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “…or due to sparse forage available to sustain livestock AFTER WILD HORSES ARE ACCOUNTED FOR”

    So their logic is to “account” by eliminating them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mortgaging Our Natural Heritage

    An Analysis of the Use of Bureau of Land Management Grazing Permits as Collateral for Private Loans Taylor Jones & Mark Salvo
    Report Release: June 2006

    What has only recently come to light is how individual grazing permittees, with the aid of lending institutions and the tacit complicity of the BLM, collateralize their federal grazing permits to finance their public lands grazing operations. Both the Forest Service and the BLM sanction the use of publicly owned federal grazing permits and leases as collateral for private bank loans.4 Grazing permits/leases issued under the Taylor Grazing Act (TGA) of 1934 convey to permit holders the privilege to use publicly owned forage on BLM lands. The permits do not bestow a right on permittees to graze federal lands. This important distinction was intended by Congress in the TGA,5 articulated in BLM regulations,6 restated in federal grazing studies,7 confirmed by scholars,8 and upheld by the Supreme Court as recently as 2000.9 TGA grazing permits are revocable, amendable, non-assignable ten-year licenses to graze that do not convey property rights to permit holders.

    CURRENT LOANS BASED ON BLM PERMITS Information obtained by Forest Guardians following a long legal battle documents that the total amount of loans secured by federal grazing permittees/lessees using BLM grazing permits/leases as (partial) collateral in the eleven western states is $1,142,015,153.56. States with the highest values for permit-based loans are Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming (Figure 1).

    The BLM field offices with the highest values of permit-based loans are Miles City, Montana, Dillon, Montana, and Roswell, New Mexico (Figure 2). Together, these three field offices comprise over 31 percent of the total BLM permit-based loans in the West

    Numbers alone don’t do justice to this story. Below, we profile specific BLM field offices and western states, the value of permit-based loans managed by those offices, and wildlife pushed to the brink of extinction by livestock grazing on public lands under BLM jurisdiction.
    The BLM’s Cedar City Field Office in Utah manages grazing permits that ranchers have collateralized for loans worth almost $5 million. The BLM and ranchers maintain high livestock numbers on grazing allotments partly to avoid permittee delinquency on paying these debts. Intensive grazing harms species such as the Utah Prairie Dog, which is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

    Click to access Report_Mortgaging_Our_Natural_Heritage.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ..AND YET…they still blame the WH&B

    Utah’s latest land battle pits ranchers against not the feds but the state

    But much to the dismay of Garfield County leaders, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), a land-management agency that prioritizes raising revenue for public education above all other considerations, last month canceled the Otts’ grazing permit.

    “While grazing is important, we simply cannot let it take precedence over all economic opportunities that present themselves,” SITLA Deputy Director Kim Christy wrote in an email. “SITLA takes seriously its relationship with that industry. However, [fiscal year] 2018 cash proceeds from grazing yielded $1.332 million to the trust, while all revenue-generating programs combined generated $70.87 million.”



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