I urge all who care about watersheds and wildlife to support the refinement and passage of congressional bills like the Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA), providing for reduction and eventual elimination of destructive public lands grazing. Livestock grazing is the most environmentally destructive, economically inefficient and fiscally wasteful of all uses of our public land — $134.4 million was spent by our government on grazing management in 2014 while collecting just $117.2 million in grazing fees. And since the fees are spent on more grazing projects — no dollars ever go toward reducing the deficits — retiring allotments would be a step toward restoring degraded watersheds and maximizing more fiscally productive and environmentally sustainable uses. There will be opposition from pork barrel permittees and their pet politicians; ranchers not only stand to lose basic “welfare benefits,” but will lose perks like lenders allowing use of allotment acres as collateral for loans. Wouldn’t you like lenders to give you credit or loans based on how many public acres you visit each year? Public lands ranching — what a destructive crock. Let’s get busy and work to save our watersheds and wildlife while preserving and enhancing responsible uses of public lands.
Jim Prunty, Twin Falls
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