Zinke: Open the CMR for Grazing Due to Montana Drought
Aside from the fact that we put America on the path towards global energy dominance, one of the great things Ryan Zinke and the Trump Administration did while he served as Interior Secretary was to simply bring common sense back to the table.
When fires burned out of control and consumed vast amounts of ranchland in Eastern Montana, then-Secretary Zinke made the common sense move to simply open up the CMR for grazing. We're talking, of course, about the CMR National Wildlife Refuge. It just simply made sense, especially after an emergency swept across the prairie. It delivered the relief the ranchers needed, and it didn't cost millions of dollars to do so.
As drought threatens ranchland across Montana, Zinke is once again calling to open up the CMR for grazing:
Zinke: The drought is worsening in eastern Montana and is pushing hay prices to over $200/ton. Montana ranchers have no good options and need immediate relief. We used existing authorities to provide emergency grazing after the Lodgepole Complex fires in 2017. Ranchers from northeast Montana paid fair market rates and were able to move their cattle on the allotments within days. Similar action to provide relief against the drought would align with the Department's mission and legal framework.
Zinke has already announced plans to run for the new US House seat that was recently allocated to Montana following the 2020 Census.
In a press release from the Zinke campaign, Montana Stockgrowers Association President Jim Steinbeisser also praised the move:
Montana ranching families would greatly benefit from the Biden Administration’s authorizing of emergency grazing on the CMR. Not only does livestock grazing promote heathy rangelands and reduce fire hazards, but during these current drought conditions, it may be the deciding factor for Montana ranchers having to make difficult business decisions to stay afloat. Former Secretary Zinke’s effort in opening the CMR to grazing in 2017 saved many Montana ranching families and we urge the Biden Administration to consider this important avenue again.”
As Tom Lutey reported back in May of 2018, ranchers credited Zinke's move with saving their ranch.
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