Strange bedfellows make a grazing deal in Idaho

Ring, Ray
October 2005
High Country News;10/3/2005, Vol. 37 Issue 18, p6
This article focuses on the struggle over cattle grazing in south-west Idaho. On July 29, 2005, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in ordered 14 ranches to remove all their cattle and sheep from 800,000 acres of federal land, stretching from southwest of Twin Falls to Nevada. A lawsuit filed by Jon Marvel, a leading proponent of kicking livestock off public lands, had triggered the judge's ultimatum. On August 30, 2005, Marvel announced he'd cut a deal with the four ranches that run most of the cattle in question. If the judge approves the deal, the ranches, part of the empire of Idaho's billionaire J.R. Simplot, can keep their cattle on the land for at least a few more years, while a full environmental impact study is done. During that time, they would have to reduce their grazing by about 6 percent. Idaho's Senator Larry Craig has been the ranchers' biggest backer in the U.S. Congress, running roughshod over Marvel's lawsuits several times. And the truce effectively bypasses him. The rangeland in question is an 800,000-acre patchwork of sagebrush, desert grass and canyons, part of the 1.7 million- acre Jarbidge Resource Area.


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