September 9, 2011
The Public Lands Council (PLC) this week voted to approve the creation of the Public Lands Endowed Trust, which Dustin Van Liew, PLC executive director and National Cattlemen's Beef Association director of federal lands, said will help ensure the future of federal lands grazing. The trust is the result of more than a year of negotiations between PLC and Ruby Pipeline, an energy infrastructure company. The mission of the trust will be to "protect, enhance and preserve multiple uses of public lands, including the livestock grazing industry's use of those lands." Van Liew said the trust will ensure that the more than 100-year-old working relationship between the livestock industry and the oil and gas industry continues into the future.
"Livestock producers have a tradition of working with fellow federal lands stakeholders, and the creation of the trust is evidence of that tradition. This trust will enable us to work with Ruby Pipeline on projects to preserve and enhance the federal lands grazing industry for years to come," Van Liew said. "It wasn't always an easy process, but the creation of the trust is proof that a diverse group of individuals can sit down at a table and reach an agreement for the betterment of all who utilize the land's resources."
The $15 million endowment will be governed by one representative from PLC and one representative from Ruby Pipeline, which recently completed construction of its 680-mile natural gas pipeline that extends from Wyoming to Oregon and crosses through northern Utah and northern Nevada.
According to Van Liew, the principal amount of the trust will not be used. Instead, the endowment's earnings will go toward meeting PLC's mission to serve the public lands livestock industry. The next step in the creation of the trust is for PLC to begin the process of developing guidelines for funding projects that will include a variety of non-litigation initiatives such as research, education, range monitoring, fire restoration and media and community outreach for the benefit of the public lands grazing industry.
"This historic partnership will be critical in the future of federal lands grazing and will also help to keep federal lands open to the many multiple-use industries," Van Liew said. "We look forward to a long relationship with Ruby Pipeline as we work together to sustain and improve federal lands grazing."