For Immediate Release, February 26, 2021

Contact:

Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project, (520) 623-1878, greta@westernwatersheds.org
Chris Krupp, WildEarth Guardians, (206) 417-6363, ckrupp@wildearthguardians.org
Marc Fink, Center for Biological Diversity, (218) 464-0539, mfink@biologicaldiversity.org

Bureau of Land Management Rescinds Illegal Grazing Decision Day After Conservationists Sued to Overturn It

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Bureau of Land Management today rescinded the grazing decision that was the subject of a federal lawsuit filed yesterday by conservation groups to overturn a Trump administration decision allowing an unqualified ranching company to graze cattle on Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon.

“We’re grateful that the new administration saw right away that Bernhardt’s decision to grant the grazing permit without the proper public participation could not stand,” said Greta Anderson, deputy director of Western Watersheds Project. “We believe when they reconsider the proposed action, they’ll realize there were major substantive problems as well.”

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, demonstrated that former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s last-minute decision cut short the public process required by law and failed to consider potential harm to imperiled wildlife, including the greater sage grouse, and damage to Indigenous sites.

“Today’s Notice of Rescission recognizes how deeply flawed this decision-making was and returns the process to the Bureau, which is what should have happened in the first place,” said WildEarth Guardians’ Chris Krupp. “Bernhardt stepped in to grant a political favor before Trump left office, but that’s not how decisions affecting public lands are supposed to be made.”

“This swift decision is a good sign that the Biden administration intends to listen to the public and follow the law,” said Marc Fink, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s a stark and welcome contrast from the sleazy behavior of the previous administration.”

The Bridge Creek allotments are on the ancestral lands of the Burns Paiute Tribe of Oregon and the Northern Paiute and the Western Shoshone peoples. They contain a trove of cultural and biological resources, as well as important habitat for the imperiled sage grouse, redband trout and numerous other animals. The lands include designated wilderness and other wilderness-quality lands along the flanks of Steens Mountain.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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