On Monday, the environmental group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) sent a complaint letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, accusing the department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of failing to take into account the climate impacts of its commercial grazing program, which covers giant stretches of the West.
“We’re in a climate emergency,” said Tim Whitehouse, PEER’s executive director. “Grazing has been a third rail at BLM. It’s a program they don’t want to touch. They don’t want to address the consequences of overgrazing, or for that matter, understand them.”
The group argues that the Interior Department’s failure to consider climate impacts could make the agency vulnerable to lawsuits. Groups have successfully sued the department recently for failing to evaluate climate impacts when granting oil and gas leases. The same could happen with grazing permits, PEER warns. Already, one such lawsuit is underway.