Letters to the Editor

Maxwell letter: Rural Economic Vitalization Act

I support the Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA) (H.R.3410). Here’s why you should too.

This legislation would provide ranchers, conservationists, and the federal government flexibility to reduce the adverse environmental impacts to Western federal lands at no cost to the government. Rarely do we have such a win-win situation available.

This legislation would reduce governmental expenditures, particularly subsidization of the federal grazing program by taxpayers. The federal grazing program is among the most fiscally wasteful, economically inefficient uses of our public lands. Although I don’t think a hostile takeover of a small wildlife refuge is the answer, HR 3410 may be a step in the right direction.

In 2014 the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service’s “Range Grazing Management Programs” spent $134.4 million on grazing management. In that same fiscal year, both agencies only brought in $17.2 million in grazing fees.

HR 3410 would provide ranching permit holders the option to relinquish their grazing permits on a voluntary-only basis, in exchange for compensation paid by private parties. The federal agency would retire the grazing allotment from activity. Permit retirement would be capped at 100 permits per year.

Call our Idaho Representative Raul Labrador to support this bill (208-888-3188).

Janet Maxwell, Meridian