Originally reported in The Durango Herald, this is an excerpt of that article, the link to read the article in its entirety is at the bottom. We just could not have said it any better ourselves.
Diane Mitsch Bush opposes opening federal land to livestock grazing
“Congress is considering legislation that would open hundreds of thousands of additional acres of federal land to grazing by livestock. At a hearing last week, Tipton recommended the government enlist help from ranchers and farmers to better protect federal lands.
Tipton, R-Cortez, claims farmers and ranchers would protect ranges, reduce fire threats and protect nature. Typically, they remove invasive weeds and build stock ponds that could be used by wildlife, he said.
“The premise does not quite fit the facts,” Mitsch Bush said. “Talking about this as a solution to fires is interesting. I don’t think it will work even if you did it. I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Mitsch Bush is concerned that if local ranchers graze uncontrollably, ranges could be unusable and bodies of water could degrade. She said numerous range-management programs have been effective in mitigating the impact of cattle grazing on watersheds.
“With all due respect to Mr. Tipton, I don’t think he has studied range management very closely,” Mitsch Bush said. “I think there are better ideas out there to deal with this.”
Livestock grazing already is permitted across stretches of federal lands in the West. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management authorizes livestock grazing on 155 million acres, more than half of the acreage it administers. The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also permit grazing on some of their lands. In Colorado, the federal government owns about 37 percent of the land.
Mitsch Bush also discussed November’s General Election. She said unaffiliated voters will play a big role because she believes they sometimes reject corruption and back-room politics often associated with Washington politicians.
“It’s the people’s House,” Mitsch Bush said. “And it’s been turned from the people’s House into a plutocratic, pay-to-play club, that is not legislating in our interests period. Our representative is frankly one of the key examples.”