PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Three environmental groups have rejected a government offer to further limit but allow some grazing by Oregon ranchers who were convicted of intentionally setting fires on public land.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity and Wildearth Guardians rejected the offer Friday.
They then requested that a judge ban Hammond Ranches Inc. from grazing cattle on two government allotments while they contest the ranchers’ 10-year grazing permit.
Wildlife, ecology and rangeland experts for both sides gave testimony about whether grazing would harm sage grouse and redband trout in the Steens Mountain area.
Harney County rancher Dwight Hammond Jr. and son Steven Hammond listened to the federal hearing in Portland but didn’t participate.
U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon said he’ll rule by July 17 whether to grant a preliminary injunction and further halt Hammond livestock from grazing on the two allotments.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com