Environmental groups sue to block grazing permit renewal

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Three environmental advocacy groups are suing to block the restoration of grazing rights to two Oregon ranchers who were convicted of intentionally setting fires on public land.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity and Wildearth Guardians filed the federal lawsuit Monday against the Bureau of Land Management and an agency district manager.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in January ordered the renewal of a 10-year grazing permit for Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven Hammond.

The lawsuit claims the renewal violates administrative regulations because it failed to consider the ranchers’ unsatisfactory record.

President Donald Trump pardoned the Hammonds last year. Their case prompted the weekslong standoff with anti-federal government protesters at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016.