BLM gives final OK to American Prairie bison grazing plans; GOP politicians vow to fight

BRETT FRENCH

In a decision opponents are plotting to reverse, the Bureau of Land Management on Thursday issued its final decision approving American Prairie’s request to graze domesticated bison on 63,500 acres of public land in Phillips County.

A change was denied on a seventh request because American Prairie shares the allotment with another cattle rancher. The grazing leases are good for 10 years but subject to review and monitoring.

American Prairie said in a statement the BLM’s decision “will facilitate the sustainable growth of their private conservation herd of bison from approximately 800 animals to 1,000 animals by 2025. By comparison, the majority of American Prairie’s land base is leased out to local cattle ranchers and supports over 10,000 head of cattle.”

The change to its grazing permits was first requested by American Prairie in 2017, which was downsized two years later due to public outcry. More than 2,500 comments were received on the initial proposal.

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American Prairie is a nonprofit group formed in 2001 that has purchased ranches across Eastern Montana totaling more than 450,000 acres (117,611 private and 334,817 public). 

The group’s goal is to one day

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