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House votes to extend 20-year lease to cattle ranches on Point Reyes National Seashore

San Francisco Chronicle

Photo courtesy Michael Macor / The Chronicle 2014

San Francisco Chronicle

By Tara Duggan

A years-long disagreement between cattle ranchers and conservation groups over which grazing animals should get precedence on the grasslands covering Point Reyes National Seashore — dairy cows or native Tule elk — took a step toward being settled on Tuesday, when the House of Representatives passed a bill in favor of the ranchers.

H.R. 6687 would give a 20-year extension to existing agricultural leases in the national park, and allow Tule elk to be removed from working ranches.

“H.R. 6687 is narrowly tailored to help ensure that sustainable ranches and dairies continue as part of the fabric of our spectacular Point Reyes National Seashore for generations to come,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), in a statement; he coauthored the bill with Rob Bishop (R-Utah). “I’m proud that this bill has been a refreshing bipartisan effort here in Congress.”

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