The Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (H.R. 2584) is scheduled to come to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives the week of July 25. The legislation will be considered under an open rule, which allows members of the House to offer any germane amendment from the floor.
With an open rule, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) believes it is best to prepare a strong defense against any amendment that might be offered from the floor to strip the act of the Simpson language. Simpson's sheep language would halt the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management from actions on bighorn sheep that would result in reducing domestic sheep grazing on public lands for five years. The action is necessary to provide industry and researchers the necessary time to finalize the implementation of promising vaccines to address disease issues, as well as strategies to implement best management practices to promote the coexistence of both species of sheep.
ASI is joined by a number of lamb and wool companies in supporting this language to preclude the threat to nearly one-fourth of the entire U.S. sheep industry that grazes on forest land that is also considered habitat for bighorns. The $628 million contribution to the American economy, and more than 7,200 jobs that this portion of the sheep industry supports, would be threatened with the loss of this share of the sheep inventory.
Therefore, ASI is encouraging sheep producers to continue to contact their Representatives to support the Simpson sheep language.
Early next week, ASI will post background information, op-ed letters, recently published articles and support letters for Simpson's language to its website, www.sheepusa.org, for sharing with congressional offices.