From the Office of Matt Rosendale
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Matt Rosendale is proud to see the State of Montana, under Governor Greg Gianforte’s leadership, protect Montana ranchers. On October 27th, the State of Montana notified American Prairie that they are not currently authorized to graze bison on two state allotments. American Prairie will be required by November 17th, to detail how they will prevent bison grazing in these areas. The Governor’s decision to protect ranching and reject the Biden Administration’s radical environmentalist agenda is welcome news for Montanans. This decision from the Governor’s office comes on the heels of a recent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) decision to deny petitions of stay filed on behalf of Montana stakeholders, including the Governor’s office and the Montana Attorney General. Last week, Congressman Rosendale sent a letter to BLM and OHA demanding that they reverse their decision denying the petitions of stay.
The petitions of stay came as a result of BLM allowing American Prairie to graze bison on federal lands under a general public grazing permit. BLM’s decision directly violates the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, and ignores 90 years of best range management practice. The Taylor Grazing Act was enacted to regulate range management on public lands following the catastrophic effects of the Dust Bowl. Specifically, the Act defines “livestock”, for the purpose of grazing, as “cattle, sheep, horses, burros, and goats”; bison are notably absent from that definition. Under federal law, bison are not considered livestock. BLM, however, in an attempt to get around federal statute and its own regulations, now define bison as “indigenous domestic livestock”. This phony term crafted by the Biden Administration rejects the plain language of the statute in favor of radical environmentalist policy.
The decision by the State of Montana protects the interests of Montana’s expansive ranching community and all the contributions they make to our great state. The decision reaffirms states’ powers to reject federal overreach. Montana ranchers and state officials know what is in their best interest—not environmental activists or bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. This decision sends a clear message to the Biden Administration and protects the ranchers who contribute so much to Montana. While there is still much to be done on this matter, this is a hopeful step forward towards a return to responsible range and public land management.