A veritable who’s who of the political liberalazzi showed up Saturday for Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s rafting trip in Browns Canyon to congratulate themselves on the new designation of the river and its boundaries as a national monument.
There was lots of ruminating on how great the designation would be for recreation, but nothing about the future of grazing rights or the use of other resources in the new monument.
The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association asked Gov. Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet months ago to make sure grazing would continue without changes or restrictions.
The Democrats have remained mum on the matter. However, an announcement to the media from Hick’s office announcing the rafting trip stated that existing grazing and water rights would not be affected in the new monument.
An interesting premonition, since the fed’s new management plan hasn’t even been written.
Cattlemen and other stakeholders are also concerned the monument designation would restrict motorized access for water maintenance and range improvements, and that changes in the numbers of authorized livestock would be based on the whim of individual land managers rather than facts.
Are the cattlemen’s concerns legitimate?
Compare former President Bill Clinton’s grazing language in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the most controversial monument ever declared, with what President Obama wrote:
“Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to affect existing permits or leases for, or levels of, livestock grazing on Federal lands within the monument; existing grazing uses shall continue to be governed by applicable laws and regulations other than this proclamation.”
“Laws, regulations, and policies followed by the BLM or the USFS in issuing and administering grazing permits or leases on lands under their jurisdiction shall continue to apply with regard to the lands in the monument, consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above.”
In other words, so long as grazing rights are consistent with the object of “scientific and historic interest on the lands in and around Browns Canyon,” it will be allowed to continue.
Too often we’ve seen “scientific and historic interest” based on a whim.
The cattlemen have great cause to be concerned.