County asks for federal hearings on drought restrictions

Nye County Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday asking U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., to hold hearings more than BLM drought restrictions on ranchers in northern Nye County.

The resolution notes the BLM restricted grazing permits to two months at a time, even on mountain ranges where independent scientists and low-level BLM personnel agree the grazing circumstances are still good.

The two-month permits make it almost impossible to program a viable livestock operation, the county mentioned.

“Ranchers across the state have noted deteriorating relationships among the BLM and the ranching neighborhood due to the fact of the BLM’s a single-size-fits-all national drought monitoring index that threatens the worth of grazing permits and the ranchers’ capability to stay in organization,” the resolution states.

The county resolution states several ranchers have been asked to take a voluntary reduction of up to half their livestock herds amid threats their refusal will trigger a BLM closure of their allotment, regardless of the situation of the range.

“Where drought circumstances exist ranchers reduce their numbers for their own effectively-getting while the BLM makes use of the national drought map alternatively of contemplating range circumstances in certain allotments to make draconian reductions,” the resolution states.

It faults the BLM for placing restrictions on ranching communities although failing to address “the explosive populations of feral horses that continue to decimate and destroy viable range land.” That paragraph drew an objection from County Commissioner Donna Cox, who said the BLM has been rounding up thousands of wild horses in Nevada.

County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman invited Cox to check out her Smoky Valley Ranch and she would show Cox all the wild horses on northern Nye County grazing lands. Counties had been invited to submit the resolution at the request of the Nevada Association of Counties, the Nevada Cattleman’s Association and Nevada Farm Bureau also help it.

The resolution states, “the Equal Access to Justice Act has been and continues to be utilised by radical neo-environmental organizations to lead to economic and environmental destruction.”

It adds, “certain federal government workers and agents often abuse their positions to the detriment of citizens and the economy and culture of Nye County.”

The resolution concludes, “be it resolved that ranchers, regardless of their sense of responsibility and stewardship and the situation of their ranges, who are threatened with diminished home values and inability to use their ranches to assistance their households have joined with others who have not yet skilled a forced reduction in their herd sizes but recognize the vulnerability of their position.”

Wichman stated she received a telephone call from Doug Fertado, manager of the Battle Mountain BLM District, which supervises northern Nye County, asking to pull the agenda item, which had been requested by Commissioner Butch Borasky. Fertado mentioned only two livestock permitees had their grazing allotments reduced because of the drought, she said.

“He also stated this sort of action will lead to the listing of the sage grouse,” Wichman stated. “It was also his opinion that cattle are overgrazing and it’s the overgrazing that is causing the cheat grass and not fires.”

Fertado also said wild horses had nothing at all to do with overgrazing simply because they don’t eat the very same feed.

Some anti-federal speakers speaking out against the BLM resource management strategy at the Monday meeting stated it was a waste of time to even negotiate with the BLM.

• County commissioners also voted to send a letter to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., expressing opposition to the Garden Valley Withdrawal Act. The bill requests the withdrawal of 805,100 acres of public land in far eastern Nye County near the Lincoln County line, where the City Art Project is getting constructed.

The county states ordinance 380 needs a cooperative engagement with federal agencies that hasn’t occurred for this legislation. The letter, signed by Commissioner Wichman, states the legislation would limit numerous makes use of, permitted activities and operations in an region roughly the size of Rhode Island.

“The majority of land in the proposed legislation has the potential for resource development and advantageous utilization. The county supports efforts to each create sources exactly where proper while safeguarding or conserving resources where necessary. The proposed legislation goes far beyond what is needed for the protection of choose resources and fails to account for the advantages of the development and utilization of other sustainable sources in this location,” the letter states.

Borasky wanted the letter sent to all members of Congress, not just the Nevada delegation, “along with that guy that sits in the White Home.”

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