Citing recent increases in timber sales from the national forests, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the Forest Service to "identify new opportunities to increase America's energy dominance and reduce reliance on foreign countries for critical minerals." In a memo to the Forest Service chief, Perdue also said livestock grazing should be regarded as an essential part of management of the grasslands that are part of the 193-million-acre National Forest System.
Some of the country’s biggest outdoor retailers, including Patagonia, say they won’t be attending one of Utah’s biggest outdoor trade shows because of the state’s stance on public lands, says High Country News. The show brings tens of millions of dollars to the state each year, while “Utah’s outdoor recreation companies employed 122,000 people and brought $12 billion into the state each year.”
Rep. Ryan Zinke, a Montana Republican, is reportedly president-elect Donald Trump’s choice to run the U.S. Department of the Interior. Zinke, who has both voted against the transfer of public lands to states and advocated for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund — a priority for sportsmen — is not as divisive a pick as other rumored contenders, such as oil-friendly Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin or former Alaska Gov. Sarah “drill baby drill” Palin. That said, environmentalists aren’t exactly cheering, either.
The acquittal of by federal jurors of seven leaders of the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is hailed, alternately, as a verdict for liberty or an invitation to anarchy. "Most onlookers blamed prosecutorial over-reach — that the government stretched its case too far to fit the events at the refuge — or to stumbles in the presentation of evidence," said the New York Times.
The committee writing the party platform for the Republican National Convention gave its support to "legislation providing the timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to the states," says Oregon Public Broadcasting. "The language echoes some of the demands of the armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon earlier this year."
Groups representing Oregon farmers and ranchers spoke against the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge while supporting the ranching family whose legal woes sparked protests, said KGW-TV in Portland.