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Ranchers, Greens on Edge as BLM Rewrites Grazing Rule

For the first time in almost three decades, the Bureau of Land Management is preparing a new rule to guide its management of cows and other livestock grazing on federal lands, a long divisive issue that has only grown more contentious in the West after two decades of drought.

But advocates on both sides expressed skepticism that BLM’s update, which is expected to be released in draft form early next year, will include sweeping changes to the current regulations in place since 1995.

That would be just fine with the livestock industry, ranchers and some local government leaders who say BLM has begun reaching out to them for input over the past several weeks. Industry advocates say they have emphasized that the current regulatory system on 150 million acres of BLM-managed lands provides a solid partnership between the regulators and ranchers that has worked for decades.