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Keeping federal grazing lands open

February 18, 2013
By U.S. Congressman Raul Labrador

Over the last several years, the Obama administration spent nearly $1 trillion of taxpayer money on an economic stimulus package and stifled small businesses with regulations. The result is an America where too many new graduates are still out of work, too many families struggle to provide for their families and the unemployment rate is virtually unchanged from when the president was first sworn into office.

It's now absolutely clear trying things the president's way of more government involvement in the free market does not work.

That is why I continue to fight for reducing government involvement in the free market as a way to encourage economic growth in Idaho.

To further this goal, I have reintroduced the Grazing Improvement Act this week.

This legislation would provide several important tools for easing access to public lands for Idaho ranchers. It streamlines the permitting process for ranchers to access public lands. It also gives production security to ranchers because it extends grazing permits from 10 to 20 years. And expired permits would be extended under the existing terms and conditions until the renewal process is complete.

Ranchers are a staple of our state's economy.

If they were to lose their grazing permits, they would have to subdivide their land. I cannot allow ranchers here to lose access to lands where their families have grazed livestock for generations. This would have a negative impact in many of our towns.

The Grazing Improvement Act will help to ensure the continued success of many families in Idaho. This is the kind of sensible reform we need for our ranchers to stay in business and grow our economy more quickly.

During the 112th Congress, in June 2012, this bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 232-188.

I look forward to working with the Senate to pass this important piece of legislation.
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