State Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, is joining ranchers and county commissioners from House District 57 in expressing concerns about a recent decision by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to limit grazing on federal lands.
Rankin also said his first bill in the 2013 Colorado legislative session, which opens today, would require the state to analyze and report the financial and cultural impacts of federal land decisions.
Rankin was elected in November to represent HD 57, which includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.
The BLM in late December sent letters to holders of grazing allotments advising them of a proposal to reduce grazing rights by at least 50 percent starting this June.
Rankin said the directive disregards the agency's own resource advisory council's November recommendation. The council advised against a "broad brush" approach to grazing policy, "without deference to range practices, unique ecology or vegetation communities," Rankin said.
"Our local farmers and ranchers contribute greatly to the economic strength of Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties," Rankin said in a press release stating his opposition to the proposal.
"To reduce their livelihood by 50 percent would cause many to lose their family's resources," he said. "A valuable part of the heritage of western Colorado could be lost forever."