Where's the Beef? Facilitating Voluntary Retirement of Federal Lands from Livestock Grazing

NYU Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2008

Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Reform for the New Congress and Administration Paper

30 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2009  

John D. Leshy

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Molly McUsic

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Grazing of domestic livestock, the most widespread extractive use of federal lands, taking place on well over one quarter of a billion acres primarily in the West, is causing profound ecological damage (likely to be exacerbated by climate change), even though the meat produced from public land forage is a tiny fraction (about 2 percent) of national meat production and provides few jobs or economic activity in the region. Over the last decade or so, a promising non-regulatory solution to the problem has emerged, involving conservation-minded purchasers acquiring federal land grazing permits from willing sellers, and then offering to relinquish the permits to the government if it will retire the federal lands from livestock grazing. The problem is that, on most federal lands, existing law creates a serious risk that the lands covered by the purchased grazing permits will be reopened by the government to grazing by another rancher. This article addresses this problem in some detail, offers a simple statutory solution, compares this solution to alternatives, and explores the politics of securing its adoption by Congress.

Suggested Citation

Leshy, John D. and McUsic, Molly, Where's the Beef? Facilitating Voluntary Retirement of Federal Lands from Livestock Grazing. NYU Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2008; Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Reform for the New Congress and Administration Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1367279

John D. Leshy (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
415-565-4726 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uchastings.edu/?pid=1518

Molly McUsic

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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