Public Lands Council: 2011 legislative conference underway |

Public Lands Council: 2011 legislative conference underway

WASHINGTON – The Public Lands Council (PLC) kicked off its annual legislative conference March 28, 2011, in Washington, D.C. In addition to meeting with their U.S. representatives and senators about a variety of issues affecting public lands ranchers, PLC members will hear from administration officials and other multiple-use industry representatives. PLC President John Falen said PLC members will focus on issues like the Department of the Interior’s Secretarial Order 3310 (the Order) regarding wild lands designations that pose a serious threat to the sustainability of public lands ranching across the Western U.S.

“Leaders within our industry took time away from their operations to make their voices heard in Washington, D.C., this week. The wild lands order will have far-reaching negative effects not only on multiple-use activities like livestock grazing, but also on the communities relying on a thriving livestock industry,” Falen said. “We’re here to tell the administration how this severely flawed proposal would impact our livelihoods and to urge members of Congress to oppose the Order.”

First thing Monday morning, PLC members passed an interim policy resolution to oppose the Order and call for its repeal.

While the Order will continue to be a major topic of discussion during the PLC legislative conference, it is not the only issue PLC members will focus during the week. Falen said they will share concerns regarding the U.S. Forest Service’s draft planning rule and regarding Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s draft management plan for the wild horse and burro program. PLC members will also urge members of Congress to reform the Equal Access to Justice Act and to support legislation to bring transparency to the national monument designation process.

“Officials in this administration and leaders on Capitol Hill sometimes need a reminder that in addition to caring for our livestock, public lands ranchers also manage natural resources for the public, provide wildlife habitat on the land and manage noxious weeds and wildfire risks,” Falen said. “It is important for us to tell our story and work to improve conditions in our industry to ensure future generations are able to make a living raising livestock across the West.”