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News from Congress: Lee Introduces Bill to Enhance State Input on Federal Grazing Land

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced April 18 the State Grazing Management Authority Act, a bill to empower states to manage grazing allotments on federal lands. This legislation seeks to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of rangeland management while fostering collaboration between local stakeholders and government agencies.

The State Grazing Management Authority Act proposes to amend the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to enable the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into cooperative agreements with states to administer allotment management plans on federal lands. These agreements would allow states to manage grazing activities subject to valid existing rights and federal oversight.

"For too long, grazers on federal public lands have faced bureaucratic hurdles and unresponsive management practices,said Sen. Lee. "This bill empowers states to tailor grazing management to local needs and conditions, fostering healthier rangelands and stronger communities."

Under the proposed legislation, states could partner with federal agencies to develop and implement allotment management plans tailored to local conditions. This approach aims to enhance the flexibility and responsiveness of rangeland management, ensuring that grazing practices align with the needs of ranchers and grazers.

Key provisions of the State Grazing Management Authority Act include:

Cooperative Agreements: States may enter into cooperative agreements with federal agencies to administer grazing allotments on federal lands.

NEPA Analysis: Cooperative agreements may assign responsibility for conducting National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses to states.

Revenue Sharing: Grazing fees collected under authorized allotment management plans would be shared between states and federal agencies.

Dispute Resolution: The bill establishes processes for resolving disputes and ensures that parties directly involved in grazing management retain control over decision-making.

Monitoring and Accountability: Cooperative agreements would include joint monitoring regimens to track the success of grazing management practices and ensure compliance with established plans.

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