New endowment aims to protect public-lands grazing
By Drovers news source
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
After many long conversations between representatives of the Public Lands Council (PLC), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Ruby Pipeline, an agreement has been reached, in principle, which seeks to ensure that the nearly 100-year relationship between the livestock industry and El Paso Corp. continues far into the future. While details of the agreement are still being finalized, it establishes a significant endowment with the mission to “protect, enhance and preserve the public lands grazing industry.” The concept was formally adopted earlier today after a unanimous vote by the board of directors of the Public Lands Council, whose board members represent 13 western states, NCBA, the American Sheep Industry Association, and the Association of National Grasslands.
“While we are concerned about the potential impacts of Ruby’s recent settlement agreement with the Western Watersheds Project and the Oregon Natural Desert Association, we are satisfied that this endowment provides us a tool with which to mitigate many of our concerns,” said Skye Krebs, president of the Public Lands Council. “As the organization which has represented public lands ranchers in the West for over four decades, we are confident that our industry will benefit from this endowment for many years to come.”
The $15 million endowment, $7.5 million to be contributed later this year and $750,000 to be added into the endowment annually for the following 10 years, will be governed by one representative from the PLC and one representative from El Paso Corp. While the principal amount will not be used, the endowment’s earnings will go toward meeting PLC’s mission to serve the public lands livestock industry. Specific projects may include scientific research, education, range monitoring, fire restoration, media, and community outreach for the benefit of the public lands grazing industry. It is important to note that funds from the endowment will not be used for litigation. Read More
It’s fantastic to see El Paso Corporation realize the importance of agriculture and public lands grazing. You will remember that they donated over $20 million to a couple of radical environmental groups that were going to use the money to force ranchers off their land. When the news broke about this, many of us in ag contacted El Paso to voice our disappointment in their decision. Like many other corporations that we’ve seen mistakenly give money to radical anti-ag groups, they’ve seemingly realized their error. So I say thank you to El Paso for taking the time to study this issue more closely and supporting hard working ranching families who rely on public lands to help feed this nation.