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Sage grouse listing would destroy industry
Herald and News Letter to the Editor January 20, 2012, by Gail Whitsett, Klamath Falls
News from the Department of Interior regarding the determination for sage grouse listing and habitat designation for the Western United States could portend the end of public range grazing. Multi-millions of public acres in 10 states, including Oregon, may become useless if the potential ESA-listed sage grouse habitat is determined to be impacted by the influence of controlled cattle grazing. Banning livestock grazing will result in less tax revenue and thousands fewer jobs for the American public.
Cattle remain Klamath and Lake counties’ largest agricultural commodity. Many Oregon counties are dependent upon cattle production to keep their local economies solvent. The Oregon Department of Agriculture lists cattle, including dairy, as the largest state agricultural industry.
A huge demand for beef products exists in the Pacific Rim countries. Meeting this demand is an opportunity to help lift Oregon out of the recession. This federal ruling potentially banning cattle from millions of acres of grazing land in Eastern Oregon will destroy that possibility. We can look to Australia, Argentina or Brazil to step in and provide the animals for this market that should otherwise belong to the Oregon and U.S. cattle producer.
Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Karen Budd-Falen stated in a recent Congressional hearing “Contrary to some belief, the implementation of the ESA has real impacts on landowners, ranchers, farmers, employers and others who are a vital part of America’s present and future. Rather than saving species, and conserving their habitats, the ESA is used as a sword to tear down the American economy, drive up food, energy and housing costs and wear down and take out rural communities and counties.”
Sage grouse listing will do to Oregon agriculture what the spotted owl did to the timber industry and the fisheries biological opinions have done to the Klamath Basin’s economy.
Editor’s’s note: Gail Whitsett is a candidate for state representative from District 56.


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