AG Knudsen, Stockgrowers Dissect the BLM Handout to the APR
A friend of ours in Bozeman came up with the best one-liner describing Montana's Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R-MT): "he's the Ron DeSantis of AG's."
Well said. Ron DeSantis is, of course, the hard-charging, freedom-protecting, and popular governor of Florida. (Just ask Gavin Newsom's relatives)
If you missed our conversation with Attorney General Austin Knudsen and the Montana Stockgrowers Association, we got their reaction to the Biden Administration's big handout to the Left-wing American Prairie Reserve (APR) which is working to remove Montana ranchers from the land.
Knudsen grew up on a ranch in Northeastern Montana, and still has the family ranch. So he knows exactly what kind of threat the APR represents to our Montana way of life.
AG Knudsen: When they're being open about what they're trying to do to our state- they want to push people off the land, they want these small communities to go away...we have to step up.
What are the legal arguments against the Biden Bureau of Land Management (BLM) giving a special handout for the APR to tear out infrastructure and allow bison to graze year-round?
AG Knudsen: The single biggest argument is that bison are not livestock, and the Taylor Grazing Act, Federal Land Policy Management Act, they define what livestock is and that they have priority use on federal land. Okay. What other arguments? Well, a big one here is that there actually are some mechanisms for outfits to have some special grazing for wildlife. That's called a special grazing permit. That's an established process. APR didn't use that process here. And the BLM rubber stamps them not using that process here, they gave APR a general grazing permit- flatly illegal. Those general grazing permits are for domestic livestock only. There's no provision for a general grazing permit to be used for wildlife, or non-domestic livestock. And what's so interesting here is you see the legal gymnastics that both APR and the BLM have engaged in here, to try to shoehorn this animal and make it fit within the Taylor Grazing Act. It simply doesn't. But they've come up with this made-up artificial term "domestic indigenous livestock." That's a nonsense term, Aaron- that term does not exist in the law anywhere. I don't care what kind of legal gymnastics you want to engage in. We're talking about defined terms, let alone in the dictionary, but also in federal law. That just doesn't fly.
Raylee Honeycutt is the interim Executive Vice President for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. She explained why the Montana Stockgrowers also wanted to join in the fight and appeal the BLM's decision giving this handout to the APR.
Raylee Honeycutt: Montana Stockgrowers partnered with the North and South Phillips County Grazing Districts to file our appeal. One because this is an issue that, along with many other groups around the state, we have been fighting for many, many years. And really it comes down to two key things. One, that the we don't feel that the BLM did an adequate analysis, or follow the NEPA process when making this decision. Steps were skipped and full analysis was not done. And two, this decision will have a significant socio economic and economic impact on rural communities across Montana. And that wasn't taken into consideration when making this decision.
Here's the full audio of our chat with AG Knudsen and MSGA on our statewide "Montana Talks with Aaron Flint" radio show:
See the Must-Drive Roads in Every State