Court tells Hammonds to stay off BLM land
The judge and Hammond Ranches, Inc, came to an agreement to extend a temporary restraining order that prevents the Hammond family cattle from grazing their Mud Creek Allotment and the Hardie Summer allotment, according to a tweet by Maxine Bernstein.
The June 28, 2019, mediation was to determine whether an injunction to prevent the Hammonds from grazing those two allotments ought to be be granted. Judge Michael H. Simon had granted a temporary restraining order June 5, that was set to run out 28 days later.
The June 28, 2019 agreement will keep the Hammonds from grazing those two allotments until at least July 17, at which time the judge will determine whether or not to grant the injunction.
Three anti-grazing groups, Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity and Wildearth Guardians filed at restraining order and filed for an injunction last month to prevent Hammond Ranches Inc., run by Dwight Hammond Jr. and son Steven Hammond from grazing their BLM-administered permit rangeland.
The BLM recognized the need for Hammond cattle to graze their allotments, which have remained ungrazed for five years and are dangerously overgrown, presenting serious fire risk, according to the BLM and the Hammonds’ neighbors. However the anti-grazing litigations groups claimed that the grazing would disturb sage grouse habitat and did not address the concern of fire danger.
U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon determined that the BLM had not conducted the necessary studies and that the Hardie Allotment and Mud Creek Allotment would suffer “irreparable harm” if the Hammonds were to turn cattle onto them.
Protect the Harvest’s Dave Duquette met recently with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt. Duquette said Bernhardt is “One hundred percent behind the Hammonds and their ability to graze there,” Duquette is confident in Bernhardt’s support of reversing the legal actions. “He’s just trying ot figure out how to deal with it,” said Duquette.