WASHINGTON (Jan. 16, 2017) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council released the following statements today in support of the confirmation of Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) for the Secretary of Interior:
“During his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Zinke has consistently advocated for our western communities, economies, and ranchers,” said Tracy Brunner, NCBA president. “He has demanded transparency and the inclusion of stakeholders when it comes to land management decisions, and has a strong understanding of the challenges that come with stewarding the West.”
Western ranchers own approximately 120 million acres of the most productive private land in the West and manage nearly 250 million acres of public land. Ranchers who hold grazing permits on public land do vital work that benefits public land including the improvement of water sources, improvement of wildlife habitat, and maintaining the open space that Americans enjoy, yet are often targeted by outside interest groups.
“For too long, ranchers have been marginalized and overlooked during planning processes and the benefits they provide to public rangelands, wildlife and natural resources have gone unrecognized,” said Dave Eliason, PLC president. “The current leadership of the Department of Interior refuses to stand up for the very people who have invested their time and livelihoods into the management and improvement of public lands. Having a Secretary of Interior who understands public lands, and who values true cooperation with stakeholders is in the best interest of all Americans. We are excited for Representative Zinke to refocus the agency’s efforts to their core mission, and to have someone in this role that understands the unique challenges we face in the West.”