The American West at Risk: Science, Myths and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery
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When it comes to grazing at the federal trough, no one sits taller in the saddle than corporate cowboys.
- Paul Rogers and Jennifer Lafleur, San Jose Mercury News, November 7, 1999

When I was BLM director, if I wanted to move 10 cows in Wyoming, senators would get involved. I still marvel at it.
- Jim Baca, former director, Bureau of Land Management

Environmentalists are accused of "ethnic cleansing...cultural genocide" of being "SERBs (selfish environmental radical bigots)" intent on "demonizing livestock producers."
- Advertisement in the New Mexico Stockman, July 1999

We really do not know what we are doing. Everything we do in land management is an experiment.
- Reed F. Noss, Cows and Conservation Biology, 1994

We're gonna paw the ground and sling snot. [Ranchers in response to lawsuit that would stop public lands grazing in Arizona and New Mexico, under the Endangered Species Act]
- G. B. Oliver III, Executive Vice President, Paragon Foundation (quoted by Michael Shinabery, Alamogordo Daily News, January 16, 2001)

Cattlemen hope consumers trust government inspection.
- Steve Brisendine, "Quarantine Could Spook Beef Eaters" (A.P. 1/01)

Livestock grazing has proven to be the most insidious and pervasive threat to biodiversity on rangelands.
- Reed Noss and Allen Cooperrider, Saving Nature's Legacy

Rest in this type of environment is probably the most harmful thing you can do. There's no soil disturbance, no cycling of minerals and the water cycle isn't functioning.
- Arizona rancher's response to court decision that anyone can apply for state 10-year grazing leases. Quoted by Mitch Tobin, High Country News, 2003

The rancher (with a few honorable exceptions) is a man who strings barbed wire all over the range; drills wells and bulldozes stock ponds; drives off elk and antelope and bighorn sheep; poisons coyotes and prairie dogs; shoots eagles, bears and cougars on sight; supplants the native grasses with tumbleweed, snakeweed, povertyweed, cowshit, anthills, mud, dust, and flies. And then leans back and grins at the TV cameras and talks about how much he loves the American West.
- Edward Abbey, Even the Bad Guys Wear White Hats - Cowboys, Ranchers and the Ruin of the West, Harpers 272 (January 1986)

Though the grasses of pasturage lands of the West are nutritious they are not abundant, as in the humid valleys of the East. Yet they have an important value. These grasses are easily destroyed by improvident pasturage, and they are replaced by noxious weeds. To be utilized they must be carefully protected, and grazed only in proper seasons and within prescribed limits...[T]hey must have protection or be ruined.
- John Wesley Powell

What are the wisest [uses] of land? First, profitable cattle raising. Second, moderately profitable cattle raising. Third, unprofitable cattle raising. Fourth, to plow the land.
- Cato the Elder, De Agri Cultura (quoted by David Sheridan, Desertification of the U.S., p. 88)


The American West at Risk: Science, Myths and Politics of Land Abuse and Recovery

The American West At Risk summarizes the dominant human-generated environmental challenges in the 11 contiguous arid western United States - America's legendary, even mythical, frontier.

It now faces depletion of many of these resources, and potentially serious threats to its few "renewable" resources.

Purchase Here at Oxford Press



Dr. Howard G. Wilshire, Geologist; Dr. Jane E. Nielson, Geologist; Richard W. Hazlett, Geologist

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