Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond set fires on federal lands without authorization and then interfered with firefighters, leading to federal court convictions in 2012. Because of this behavior, the Bureau of Land Management canceled their grazing permit in 2014. Yet in a January 2019 order, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke renewed the permits. Say what?!
Guardians and allies have filed suit against Zinke’s egregious abuse of federal rules, which require permittees to have a “satisfactory record of performance” in accordance with the terms and conditions of grazing permits. By renewing the permits, Zinke also waived environmental review, another violation of federal law.
“This was political interference at the highest levels of government,” said Guardians’ Judi Brawer. “There are no legal grounds for renewing the permit without a public environmental review. Letting a Trump appointee arbitrarily determine who does and doesn’t get the privilege of grazing on our public lands is an insult to public lands users.”
Read the press release.