"While some may see it as an olive branch, it's more of a trojan horse." That was the reaction of Chuck Denowh with the United Property Owners of Montana (UPOM).

As the Associated Press reported earlier this week, the American Prairie Reserve is scaling back their year-round grazing request to the federal government.

According to the AP:

The American Prairie Reserve's revised application to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would allow bison to graze on about 94 square miles (243 sq. kilometers) of public lands instead of the 450 square miles (1,166 sq. kilometers) originally requested.

 

Here's the full response from UPOM's Chuck Denowh:

For over a decade, APR has been advancing a plan to establish a free-roaming bison herd and eliminate the existing ranching communities that occupy the area they want under their control.  None of that has changed. APR remains the same threat to neighboring landowners, Montana's agriculture economy, and the communities in their target zone.

APR's revised proposal to BLM is smaller in scope, but has the same objective as the original.  While some may see it as an olive branch, it's more of a trojan horse.  BLM grazing allotments were reserved by Congress for agriculture production—APR's revised proposal would be a radical departure from that policy.  They know that if they can establish a new precedent on a single BLM allotment, they can expand elsewhere.  BLM should reject APR's proposal outright—our public land should not be used in a dangerous experiment with far-reaching implications for Montana's economy.

What is the APR? Why is it seen as a threat to small towns all across Montana? We spoke with Denowh, who grew up on a ranch in Sidney, Montana, on Montana Talks. Here's the audio: