Cows ate BLM’s homework; say they cannot track cattle on public lands

SOURCE: PEER NEWS RELEASE
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

BLM SAYS IT CANNOT TRACK CATTLE ON ITS LANDS
Blames Lack of “Seamless Data” for Excluding Livestock from Range Assessments

Washington, DC (Jan. 24, 2013) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says it was an absence of “reliable data”—and not politics—that caused it to exclude consideration of commercial livestock impacts from multi-million dollar assessments of environmental conditions on Western range lands. BLM thus rejected the first scientific misconduct complaint filed against it by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which today released a detailed rebuttal of BLM’s self-exoneration.

In a letter dated January 2, 2013, Louis Brueggeman, the BLM Scientific Integrity Officer, rejected the PEER scientific misconduct complaint filed more than a year earlier, on November 30, 2011. He concluded that the complaint had “no merit” since the decision to exclude grazing was reached independently by study team leaders (all BLM managers) solely for “technical reasons” relating to the “lack of sufficient existing data” about livestock impacts.

In reaching this conclusion, BLM ignored meeting minutes produced by PEER in which BLM managers are quoted saying that study of grazing impacts would concern “stakeholders” and the Washington Office due to “fear of litigation.” The claim that the real reason was lack of data does not hold water because:

— Attempts to exclude grazing began at the earliest stages of the study, before data availability was even examined. Further, BLM assertions of data gaps were never examined, let alone verified;
— Other factors being studied, such as invasive species, also have data gaps but these issues did not prevent invasive species from being selected as a study focus; and
— BLM managers hid the existence of a major livestock database which was never given to researchers.

“Caught with its pants down, BLM would have us believe it is wearing ankle warmers,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the $40 million study was the biggest in BLM history but will end up being largely useless. “As by far the biggest disturbance factor on Western range lands, commercial livestock grazing simply cannot be left out of a scientific landscape assessment.”

PEER today asked Dr. Suzette Kimball, the Scientific Integrity Officer for the entire Interior Department, to reject BLM’s findings and institute an independent review. This is the first scientific misconduct complaint filed against BLM under rules purporting to prevent political manipulation of science.

“Unless some standards of credibility are applied, agencies will be able to simply deny instances of scientific misconduct, no matter how well documented or compelling,” Ruch added. “This scientific integrity process will become a complete joke if BLM can get away with claiming ‘the cows ate my homework.’”

End.

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WE SAY

BLM Mustang Abacus Cartoon
BLM abacus cartoon by Vivian, from July 2010.

How can anyone be surprised by this? The BLM have never been able to count horses. Why should it be any different with cattle?

So glad this has happened on the departing Interior Secretary Salazar’s watch. It appears to us that the BLM have never been as blindly ruthless and corrupt as under his leadership. We leave you with a cartoon we put together earlier concerning the BLM and their numbers game. We were not laughing then; we are not laughing now.

In the meantime, Ken Salazar joined Twitter on Friday @KenSalazar. See https://twitter.com/Interior/statuses/295677127171375104.

— Editor.

5 thoughts on “Cows ate BLM’s homework; say they cannot track cattle on public lands”

  1. MORE BLM NONSENSE. THROW OUT “THE BABY WITH THE BATHWATER”. GET RID OF THE BLM ALONG WITH THAT CREEP SALAZAR. CAN’T BE SOON ENOUGH FOR ME.

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  2. This precisely why they have absolutely no business managing anything that breathes !!!! If push came to shove it will also be known they been so busy eradicating horses they no longer know anything about the Land either???????? They cant even count Mustangs either !!!!!!!! The admission of they cant count cows either speaks volumes, Call for Congressional Investigation immediately if not sooner !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. And our tax dollars pay BLM ?? For what ?? Not that I’m surprised–we knew they couldn’t count. Aren’t they in charge of the leases?? Don’t the ranchers have to say how many “units” they’re putting on the horses’ ranges?? Defund BLM right now…save the govt. some federal dollars. Save our federally protected wild horses. Put the blame where it belongs–on BLM. Politics and greed.

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