July 12, 2023

Wyden Stresses Preserving the Owyhee, Introducing Flexibility in the Grazing Management System

In hearing, Wyden presses for passage of his Malheur Community Empowerment for the Owyhee (CEO) Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden secured an important step forward for the  Malheur Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act— legislation informed by Eastern Oregon ranchers, tribes and environmental organizations convened by Wyden that would preserve the Owyhee and introduce more flexibility into the established grazing management system.

“We have a piece of legislation that preserves not just a treasured landscape for its incredible beauty and ecological significance, but importantly it preserves our agriculture heritage and way of life for the people who call it home,” Wyden said in his opening remarks at an Energy and Natural Resources, Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee hearing. 

Wyden also submitted questions asking the BLM to commit to working with local ranchers on issues such as treating weeds in, and access to, newly designated wilderness areas for ranchers whose grandfathered grazing rights would be maintained.

“Fundamentally, it represents a locally driven solution… They’re going to drive the approach that ranchers, conservationists and the tribes have come up with. This is a really big day for my constituents in Eastern Oregon,” said Wyden, who held an open-to-all town hall June 23 in Malheur County to discuss the landmark Owyhee bill and other issues.

This hearing is a key step to get a committee vote to send the bill to the full Senate for consideration.

A video of Wyden’s opening remarks is here.