WASHINGTON (Feb. 20, 2017) — Ethan Lane, executive director of the Public Lands Council, today released the following statement and open letter regarding the Range Allotment Owners Association:
“The Public Lands Council is the only organization in Washington, DC, who solely represents the 22,000 ranchers who operate on public lands. Since 1968, PLC has had boots on the ground in the halls of Congress and the federal land management agencies, working to ensure that rancher’s voices are heard.
“Recently, a group has materialized, claiming to be the only organization that represents the public lands rancher. This group, called the Range Allotment Owners Association, is advancing a compelling but dangerous theory, that ranchers who hold grazing permits on public lands are not merely permittees, but allotment owners. While we at PLC fight every day for the preference and property rights of ranchers, we feel that this particular theory goes beyond our legal rights and could ultimately result in the loss of permits and subsequent destruction of family ranches.
“We are lucky in this industry to have a deep bench of legal talent that is focused on our issues and represent our interests in the courts. These assembled legal minds have released the following open letter on this general topic, which we present to you independent of our opinions and analysis. That so many of the names on the attached letter will be familiar to you is a testament to their commitment to our industry and their years of work on behalf of ranchers.”