Five members of Utah’s congressional delegation – U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Reps. Rob Bishop (UT-01), Jason Chaffetz (UT-03), and Chris Stewart (UT-02) – today urged the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to keep cattle seized in Nevada out of Utah. In a letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze and Amy Leuders, State Director of BLM’s Nevada Field Office, the members of the delegation cited health and safety concerns to Utah’s cattle industry, workers involved in a potential sale and that of residents in the communities around where any sale may take place.
In the letter, Hatch, Lee, Bishop, Chaffetz and Stewart wrote that “We strongly support Governor Herbert and echo his concerns, expressed in his April 2nd letter to you, that going forward with the plan to transport the Nevada cattle to Utah may endanger the health of Utah herds and place Utah state employees and other Utah residents in danger.” The letter adds that “endangering [the cattle industry], particularly when there are alternatives available for selling the animals in Nevada, would be imprudent and careless.”
A signed copy of the letter to the BLM can be found HERE, and the text is below:
Dear Mr. Kornze and Ms. Lueders
Over the past several weeks, Utah leaders have expressed to you in letters, hearings, and personal conversations our concerns with the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to transport cattle seized in Nevada to Utah for sale. As members of the Utah delegation, we again strongly urge you to develop a plan for the cattle which does not involve transporting them to Utah. The fact that the BLM is legally able to transport the cattle to Utah does not mean it would be wise to do so. Under the circumstances, bringing the cattle to Utah would be foolish and unnecessary.
We strongly support Governor Herbert and echo his concerns, expressed in his April 2nd letter to you, that going forward with the plan to transport the Nevada cattle to Utah may endanger the health of Utah herds and place Utah state employees and other Utah residents in danger. With 5,589 beef producers and 364,744 beef cattle, the Utah cattle industry is an important part of the state’s economy. Endangering this industry, particularly when there are alternatives available for selling the animals in Nevada, would be imprudent and careless.
We also share the concerns of Governor Herbert and other stakeholders that bringing any of the animals to Utah—not just those determined to be feral—may precipitate a needless confrontation. Regardless of who is to blame for the current environment, you clearly have the power to lower the emotions involved by keeping the cattle out of Utah. As Governor Herbert wrote, “the proposed transaction is a Nevada issue, involving Nevada residents and Nevada livestock.”
We ask that BLM please implement an immediate change of course. Simply postponing your plan will not solve the problem. We hope to work productively with you in your respective roles in the coming years, and to that end we hope you will recognize the very legitimate concerns of Utah leaders and respond accordingly.