Pearce Commends Forest Service Decision

Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham commended the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow ranchers to return cattle to grazing leases on one allotment in the state, and to partner with the New Mexico Range Improvement Task Force to review data to make a decision on the remaining allotments.

“I commend the U.S. Forest Service on choosing to correct their initial decision, which was not rooted in science,” said Pearce.  “Reviewing the scientific data and allowing New Mexico’s ranchers to resume grazing on federal land is the right thing to do.  This is a step in the right direction, and is the product of considerable bipartisan cooperation among my office, the Forest Service, the New Mexico Range Improvement Task Force at NMSU, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service, and the office of Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham.  I look forward to seeing the remaining ranchers return to their grazing allotments soon.  My office is continuing to work closely with the Forest Service and with ranchers on this issue, and stands by to assist New Mexico ranchers in every way we can.”

“I applaud the U.S. Forest Service’s decision, and am proud to have worked on a bipartisan basis to support New Mexico’s ranchers,” said Lujan Grisham.  “While the Forest Service reviews the remaining grazing allotments, I will continue to work with partners and agencies at the local, state and federal level to protect this vital aspect of our state’s economy and culture.”

Earlier this year, ranchers were ordered to remove livestock from grazing allotments due to severe drought conditions.  Ranchers raised concerns that the action was arbitrary, and would lead to severe economic hardship.  Congressman Pearce has been working with ranchers and the Forest Service to reach a solution to the issue.  The Forest Service agreed to work with the New Mexico Range Improvement Task Force to review scientific data on the allotments and determine whether the allotments could continue to support grazing.  They have announced that data supports the return of cattle to the first allotment reviewed.  A decision on the remaining 17 allotments is expected within the month.