HELENA, Mont. — Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen called on a federal appeals board to overturn a Bureau of Land Management final decision that rubber stamped a controversial and locally opposed change of use permit to allow bison grazing on several allotments in Phillips County.
In an appeal filed Friday, Attorney General Knudsen, who is the state’s chief legal officer, calls on the federal appeals board to overturn the BLM’s July 28, 2022 Notice of Final Decision authorizing American Prairie Reserve (APR) a general permit to graze in several allotments in northeastern Montana. The final decision violates several federal laws: the Taylor Grazing Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Public Rangelands Improvement Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act.
“The BLM’s final decision granting a general use permit to graze bison is a direct attack on rural communities — attacks that have become a hallmark of the Biden Administration. The BLM has bent over backward to circumvent the law and approve APR’s plan to turn hundreds of thousands of acres of productive ranch land into a nature preserve for the wealthy,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “From shutting out Montana ranchers during the comment period, proposing to copy and paste directly from APR’s website, and ignoring federal law and its own regulations, it’s clear Biden’s BLM intended to rubber stamp this proposal from the start — no matter the impact on and opposition from local communities. The appeals board should step in, set aside the decision, and force the agency to follow the law.”