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Uneasy Riders: A Citizen, a Cow, and NEPA

July 2009

Citation: 39 ELR 10632

Issue: 7

Author: Mary O'Brien

This Article looks at one recurring activity that falls within the purview of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): livestock grazing on arid and semi-arid U.S. Forest Service lands west of the Rockies. The relationship of this activity to environmental assessments (EAs), categorical exclusions (CEs), environmental impact statements (EISs), and ultimately §101 of NEPA are briefly described.

This Article proposes that the general inability of the Forest Service to meet its obligations under NEPA for livestock grazing is not due to a problem with NEPA, but rather that NEPA has succeeded at revealing fundamental problems with current management of livestock grazing on Forest Service lands. A proposal for a programmatic EIS is offered.

Mary O'Brien, Ph.D., is Southern Utah Forests Project Manager at the Grand Canyon Trust.

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