In November 2003, the Sierra Club endorsed the Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act (HR 3324). This federal legislation would generously compensate public lands ranchers throughout the West who agree to relinquish their grazing permits. Under this legislation, the federal government would permanently end commercial livestock production on those federal lands associated with the relinquished permits. The Sierra Club also endorsed HR 3337, which is virtually identical to HR 3324, but would allow the buyout option only in Arizona.
Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act (H.R. 3324)
The Sierra Club endorsement of the Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act (H.R. 3324) followed careful deliberations about the implications of the legislation. We concluded that H.R. 3324 fulfills the goals and policies of the Sierra Club.
"The primary goal of this Sierra Club federal public lands grazing policy is to protect and restore native biodiversity and achieve functional and self-sustaining ecosystems," states Sierra Club policy. In addition, the Sierra Club recognizes that restrictions on grazing may have negative impacts on the cultural and economic stability of some communities. These impacts are apt to be most severe in Native American, minority and low-income communities. We are committed to developing partnerships with community members to identify and implement strategies to protect both traditional communities and the ecological integrity of public lands, without sacrificing either.
The Sierra Club is committed to helping ease the economic burden on small family ranch operations with federal public lands allotments that would be affected by termination or reduction of their grazing leases.
The Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act (H.R. 3324) recognizes the economic impacts to ranchers and their families from voluntarily giving up their public land grazing permits. This is a simple step, which allows struggling ranchers a chance to get out of public lands grazing without serious economic consequences. At the same time natural processes can be restored on some of the nation's most marginally productive rangelands.
The Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act (H.R. 3324) creates a completely voluntary means to reduce the degradation of excessive grazing on public lands. It is neither punitive nor compulsory. The legislation offers a fair price for relinquishing commercial livestock grazing permits on public lands.
In the long run, H.R. 3324 will promote sustainable and thriving populations of native plants and animals. At the same time, it will promote a more sustainable future for our selves and our families.
Arizona Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act (H.R. 3337)
In 2003 the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club recommended endorsing the Arizona Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act (H.R. 3337). The national Sierra Club subsequently endorsed the Arizona Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act. The act fulfills the goals and policies of the Sierra Club and reflects the desires of the members of the Grand Canyon Chapter.
The Arizona Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act (H.R. 3337) is endorsed by over 180 public land ranchers in Arizona. The Sierra Club believes this is an incredible opportunity to work with ranchers. The legislation recognizes the economic impacts to Arizona ranchers and their families from voluntarily giving up their public land grazing permits. The Sierra Club would be remiss if we shunned this chance to work in concert with Arizona ranchers and their families.
Photo courtesy George Wuerthner; used with permission.Up to Top