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Simpson Pulls Grazing Measure-Opts for Talks

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — On-again, off-again efforts to delay Payette National Forest grazing closures are off again. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho on Wednesday pulled a measure meant to keep 7,700 acres open to domestic sheep for another year. Since 2010, Payette managers planned the closure to protect wild bighorn sheep from diseases transmitted by their domestic cousins. But last December, Simpson intervened on behalf of ranchers with a measure to keep them open. So environmentalists went to court, saying the Forest Service couldn’t use Simpson’s measure to block the closures. A judge sided with them. Then, Simpson this month introduced a new measure to counteract the ruling. On Wednesday morning, however, Simpson backed off, saying he wanted to schedule round-table talks between ranchers and wild sheep advocates to resolve the controversial issue.

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