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Nevada Standoff Grows From Grazing Fees To Much More

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The Nevada standoff was initially over unpaid grazing fees by Bundy, but the issue has grown to a significance well beyond that in many Americans’ minds.

Few issues have calcified viewpoints on the government in the western U.S. like the tense standoff in southeast Nevada this week between federal authorities representing the enforcement of public land use under the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. The standoff in southeast Nevada between armed federal officials and armed citizens was resolved without bloodshed when BLM realized how the situation was devolving and wisely chose to suspend the operation, withdraw from the scene and return Bundy’s confiscated cattle.

The standoff was initially over unpaid grazing fees by Bundy, but the issue has taken on significance well beyond that in many Americans’ minds. The federal government claims Bundy owes more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees dating back to the early 1990s. Bundy says he recognizes state authority, but not federal authority, in the regulation of land his family has utilized for more than a century. Thus, he says he won’t pay the federal portion of the fees.

His claims have been twice denied in court, so he doesn’t seem to have a legal leg to stand on, but Bundy is undeterred. He’s drawn his line in the sand as the last survivor among many who used to work this area. The others, however, were forced out of business when BLM cuts to their grazing permits over habitat concerns for an endangered tortoise made continuation impossible. By some reports, however, that endangered tortoise, which was deemed more important than livestock grazing, is not deemed more important than wind and solar development planned for the area.

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Landowners in the West operate within a unique set of challenges. After all, the federal government is by far the largest landowner in the area (as it is in the U.S.). State and federal land ownership exceeds 30% in at least 16 U.S. states, including 90% of Alaska, 80% of Nevada, 70% of Utah, and 65% of Idaho. Thus, operating with public land leases is a necessary way of doing business for many western grazing operations, and the majority of these arrangements go without a hitch.

But with such major land holdings tied up in government hands (and subject to unexpected, sometimes politically motivated, changes), operating in the environment can be challenging. Plus, there’s a strong vein of self-reliance and independence in these folks – “you can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.” They don’t much trust government, and the BLM’s ham-fisted attempt to forcibly take by arms Bundy’s cattle is illustrative of many people’s concern about governmental tyranny and overreach.

Despite Bundy's arguments having been rejected by two appeals courts, the BLM-Bundy case has morphed into a much wider debate over freedom, personal property, state rights, taxation, government overreach, even the Second Amendment. Many say the rule of law must be upheld, but many also see the Obama administration picking and choosing which laws it deems as worthy of being enforced.

Bundy and his supporters were hardly gracious in victory, almost taunting federal enforcers to come at them again. Some see the situation as lawlessness; others deem it as the first shot in a take-back of the country. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader and a figure at the center of this controversy in a number of ways, told a Las Vegas, NV, television reporter in a matter-of-fact way that the situation “isn’t over.”

The federal government has plenty of tools at its disposal to wring the penalties it wants from Bundy – it didn’t have to take the inflammatory, high-visibility method it chose. What the federal government’s next step will be isn't known, but it can hardly let the situation stand. It’s a certainty that some people will cheer that action, whatever it is, while many others will condemn it, whatever it is.

Discuss this Blog Entry 38

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

This has nothing to do with states rights or personal property or the 2nd amendment. This is a case in which an individual has decided to disregard the law. This individual has decided that he is above the law and has chosen to disregard both the law and the courts and has brought all of this upon himself. He made the decision to not pay the fees and now must live with the consequences. He essentially wants something for nothing. Why is he above the law? If we chose which laws we want to obey we have no laws and a society ruled by a mob with not regard to others rights. That would breed a situation that would indeed infringe on private property and individual rights.

Dustin Cox (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Thank You for the message.
I really appreciate you asking.
Please research the American lands Council website for more detail but I will try to explain here short version.
United States Constitution never intended for large tracks of federally controlled land.
Under article one of US Constitution says that they can as long as they are a territory. But the west just like the east are states. Once a territory becomes a state under article 4 of US Constitution the federal government must dispose of the lands. Nevada came into the union a month before Nebraska. Nebraska has 1% public lands Nevada has over 80% public lands. When Hawaii came into the union in the 50s they disposed of those lands over 80% of Hawaii is privately owned. So when the states were ready the lands must be disposed bottom-line.
As far as the lease agreement you are exactly right on your analogy with leasing a ranch in Texas from a private individual.
When you go into lease a piece of ground in Texas as long as you or the landlord don't change the agreement you have the right to graze your cattle on the leased land. But what happens if halfway through a 10 year lease the landlord says you need to get off because of something that wasn't in the lease agreement?
About 21 years ago the BLM told him that he had to get off because of the desert tortoise. He stood by the fact that he had a right to graze cattle. They persisted and he held fast and that is when he stopped paying the BLM and started paying Clark county in the state of Nevada. They received payment for a while and then started sending his checks back. The issue is not the grazing fee the issue is the right to graze cattle on public land that needs to be disposed of to the state's. Utah Nevada Arizona want to be like Texas.
I hope this helps.
Thank you Again for asking. Please share.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

You are just outright making up constitutional theory. The Constitution gives the government the clear authority to own, and dispose of when in the public interest, lands. You can ignore the plain language of the document, but that does't mean your fantasies then become the law.

Let's get all the facts. (not verified)
on Apr 21, 2014

Cliven Bundy has not told the whole story now that he has a soapbox. The grazing allotment was "retired" by Clark County itself.

IN 1993 the lease was modified with only allowing 150 on that allotment at a time. He could have stayed forever perhaps by complying to the reduction. For years it was mix use, grazing and recreation. Now that Bundy shot himself in the foot in 1993 it will just be recreation and wilderness.

Cliven says that Clark County owns the land, the BLM is not managing the land (as he desires) and therefor he took payments to Clark County (which they refused). You can imagine them being gentle to a 70 year old and trying to explain they "retired" that grazing allotment. Even if this is Sate or County land (which it is) he still will not succeed in running cattle on public rangeland.

Also not mentioned is the numerous local on the ground conservation groups that have worked for years to have Gold Butte be a National Recreation Area and Wilderness for critical habitat for an endangered species the Mojave Tortoise. Legislation was entered in June 2013 to protect the area.

This story is very complex and those not attempting to study these topics do a disservice to understanding what happened and what is to be. Those just jumping on Agenda 21 and NWO conspiracies in the end will have cowpie on their face.

"So I still don’t quite understand why this specific 160,000 sq acres that Bundy had been grazing on had to be the exact ground for the mitigation lands?"

“In December, 1998 Clark County purchased the grazing rights to the Bunkerville Allotment for $375,000 and retired them for the benefit and protection of the desert tortoise. Clark County also purchased the range improvements at the request of the BLM. Clark County’s purchase of the grazing rights and the retirement of those rights was and is a principal part of the mitigation required under the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (“CCMSHCP”) and associated Incidental Take Permit, which allow for the destruction of habitat and “take” on 145,000 acres of private land in Clark County. To date, approximately 78,260 acres of take have occurred."

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/public_lands/deserts/nevada/...

Stuv (not verified)
on Apr 30, 2014

This is great. Someone has finally put out the actual facts of the matter. I.E. what actually happened, including a link to a document written in 2007 that pretty much explains the situation. Clive, you are going to have to get off. They got you dead to rights and you don't have much choice. Best get out of the way of that train or you will be run over. My guess is that you will stay there and insist that you are right and get run over and squashed, taking many of your relatives and friends with you. The relatives and friends is the sad part.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

I can sympathies with Mr. Bundy. However, I cannot condone his actions or the flamboyant actions of the BLM.

We run our operation entirely on a private lease. If our leaser would decide to not allow us to continue our lease we would have to remove our animals. This would forces us to find another lease or sell our animals. The reason for terminating the lease is not relevant.

We need to address these environmental, public land and private property issues at the political level. We need not elect the dumb, spineless people that are making laws that take our livelihoods away.

My in-law is facing an uphill battle in Montana. He would like to lease a portion of his PRIVATE land to put up wind turbans. He has two neighbors that are billionaires and two that are millionaires and they do not want the turbans in their view shed. They have filed an injunction against the county to keep them from granting him an encroachment permit to finish the road.

Our system needs to change!!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

turbine

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

The private leasor is obligated to continue the lease until any termination date in the lease.

Dustin Cox (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Please understand refusing to pay the federal Goverment came after they tried kicking him off 20 years ago because of what? The Turtle. So Bundy says why would I keep paying if they are not fighting to maintain my right to graze? Please understand that he didn't just up and stop paying. Then it has built (I don't like the word morphed) into a states rights object. Also let's talk about laws. He held a grazing Right to that public land, not a privilege or a permit a right. That land must be used for grazing livestock. So why didn't the BLM fight as hard to keep cattle on as hard as they fought to take them off?
The Question is What would you do if it was your place?

taylor (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Much has been said about this case but it still hurts to hear misinformation. Mr. Bundy did not have a RIGHT or Lease to graze cattle. He had a permit and the permit was not by the acre but by the animal unit month (AUM). His fee was about 1.40 per AUM which is of course a small fraction of private fees. It is less than taxes would be if he owned the land. Of course he is fighting to keep this golden deal. We all would. We the people employee the BLM as our agents and just as we hate it when we get a ticket from our police we have to obey and Mr. Bundy should also. The BLM has been more than patient in this issue. Permits can be revoked. Senator Reed involvement needs to be investigated however as he may be the most guilty one in the entire situation.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Yes, it did he "just up and decide to stop paying". It isn't up to him to decide to who he"ll pay or what is a justifiable reason to terminate his lease. The land is not HIS, therefore he doesn't get to make the rules. I think all those idiots out there waving their guns around like there were in armed insurrection and should have been arrested. Bundy gives ranchers a bad name when he tries to make it seem like he is fighting this battle on behalf of the entire ranching community. He isn't and he has ticked off plenty of them. And those dummies running around out there with their guns, poi9nting them at federal agents lawfully doing their job ON FEDERAL LAND? They make it that much more difficult for gun enthusiasts to retain 2nd Amendment rights.

TheUnsilentMajority (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Once again, I see (anonymous), posts on here that Mr. Bundy chose to ignore government law. What respect are you going to have for the government if the government picks and chooses which laws they themselves are going to enforce??? Example...Why doesn't the government impose federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington state? Why doesn't this government enforce the current immigration laws? These are CLEAR examples of how hypocritical this Obama administration and Eric Holder have been. It is a clear violation against federal drug laws to grow and possess marijuana, yet the government turns the other cheek. Therefore, is Mr. Bundy really breaking a really detrimental law? Is he really doing something wrong in the grand scheme of things? Is grazing cattle and sharing some land with a little turtle really that bad? I think this issue goes deeper than we think. Our forefathers must be rolling in their graves. I'm sure this is not what they envisioned when they were writing our constitution and bill of rights.

Karl (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Excellent points!

Dustin L. Cox (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Thank You

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 17, 2014

So because the government doesn't enforce every law, Clive Bundy now has the right to decide which laws he obeys? What a pointless argument you've made.

on Apr 16, 2014

One can argue whether or not the Federal government should control so much land in the west. But for the time being, it does. This land is part of the Public Trust of lands that are managed for the benefit of all Americans, ranchers being only one constituent group. The tax payers of America pay for the protection and managemment of these lands. When a private individual or company wished to conduct their business on Public Lands they should be required to pay a fee or royalty to reimburse the tax payers. This is true whether the company is an oil company, a mining company. a timber company or a rancher. The fees are based on the activity and they are reviewed periodically to make sure they are reasonable. Mr Bundy should not have cattle on the Public's land unless he pays his fees.

Mr. Bundy has the mistaken idea that the lands he is grazing are not Federal Lands. He needs to stop smoking those funny cigarettes. The lands became Federal in 1848. Mr. Bundy's family like many families may have grazed these Federal "Public" lands when the policy was open grazing. That policy had to be revised many years ago because of the "tragedy of the commons" which resulted in overgrazing and land degradation.

I believe the Obama administration has itself become lawless. He has refused to enforce existing laws and he has created his own. We citizens cannot stoop the the level of Obama. We must try to remain a law abiding society. Mr. Bundy is in reality a poacher. Poaching grazing from our land!

Mark007 (not verified)
on Apr 19, 2014

As nevada didn't become a state until 1864 and the first federal park didn't happen until Teddy Rosevelt methinks you're picking numbers out of your behind

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 26, 2014

actually he is right the federal government bought the land back in 1848 or 1849 not sure which, Nevada didn't become a state until 1864 but it was a territory before then.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Maybe we should look deeper into this. There is a story that Harry Reid and his family will use the land to enter into a deal with the Chinese for solar development, or that the land may be given to the Chinese to satisfy debt that our irresponsible leaders in Washington have created.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Ironwill, you are probrably on food stamps. Farmers and ranchers are some of the best stewards of the land in our country. Most people are so un-educated when it comes to production agriculture it makes me sick. Cattle farming is a very challenging business and a person can't just wake one day a decide to they want to start a ranching business with cattle. Example, a 100 cows would cost a person $200,000, if a cow could be run per 3 acres at $2000 per acre it would cost one $800,000 to just purchase land and cattle. If the return per cow per year is $400, it would take 20 years just to pay th $800,000 off. With that comes the cost of equipment, taxes, interest, heathcare, and this is without the rancher putting a dime in their own pocket. Ranchers and most people that are involved in production agriculture are the most under paid people in the country. These guys like Mr. Bundy are just trying to make a living the way they always had for generation for the most part. He has always done what he was obligated to do.
The feds will do just what they want as history speaks for it self. They want to take from the working man and give it to some one else. Just like the free gas stations that are opening in the great lakes region, giving gas to people on Obamacare, because they can't get to the Dr. if they don't have gas in there ride. You go Mr.Bundy!

Diane Finney (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

CONSERVATIVE ADVICE FOR CLIVEN BUNDY
QUIT SUCKING AT THE PUBLIC TEAT. Join the rest of us ranchers not fortunate enough to own a federal or state grazing allotment and buy a ranch, pay a mortgage, & pay land taxes. Then you can do as you d**n well please. You can graze it into the ground and kill every living creature that takes feed away from your cows. That will be your right as a land owner. But until then, you do not own the federal and state land that you graze your cows on. We all do, and everyone has a say in how it is utilized. You knew that when you accepted the insanely low grazing fees in exchange for following the rules set forth for you to follow. While record high beef prices are the norm now, ordinary ranchers’ profits are tempered with increasingly high pasture rents and feed costs. Sure, we can manage our land as we see fit, but we pay for it, out the nose, while those who pay next to nothing for pasture rent on Federal Land complain to anybody who will listen about how abused they are by the big, bad, Government. Well, I’ve got a solution for you; give up your allotments and practice what you preach. Let some of the young ranchers who would give their eye teeth to have the opportunity to graze their livestock for $1.35/AUM the chance to make it in an ever increasing hard area to break into. But you know what? They won’t do it. Why should they. They are content to have it both ways. Make a mint off the rest of us and get a national audience about how abused they are. They can pack their pistols and rifles around and talk about shooting federal agents, not pay their rent, and get a platform on Hannity. The rightwing media and the militia groups love it because they get noticed. Ratings, don’t you know. I wonder why, if they are so supportive of the Bundy family, rather than strut around threatening to shoot people, why don’t they just pay the $1M fees and fines they owe and defuse the situation? They are certainly making enough money off the family by hawking their troubles on tv and radio to be able to afford it. But that’s not what this is all about for them. It is really about exploiting a ranch family’s misguided sense of right and wrong to make money and push an anti-government agenda. Even though the Feds turned the cows out this weekend, we all know this is not over. When the cameras quit rolling, and the militia men go back to work on Monday, the Bundy family is still going to be in a world of trouble, only now it is not just for refusing to pay their pasture rent. Now they are forever in recorded history of making terroristic threats to law enforcement and public officials. They have backed themselves in a corner of their own making, and we can all hope that they don’t come out shooting, because odds are, it is not going to end pretty for anyone.
Update: Spokesman for the Militia was talking about using women and children for human shields if "the feds start shooting" to show how brutal they are. Really? (video is on the internet) How brave of them. Also Bundys have set up a paypay account so you can donate money to them, surprise surprise.
Rather than a "Hero", this guy just sounds like another taker with an entitlement complex, something Conservatives talk about despising on a daily basis..

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

thank you

John R. Dykers, Jr (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

National Parks should be sacred.
BLM land could well be auctioned to private ownership, the money used to pay down the national debt, and the BLM abolished.
Imagine what a struggle it has been/is to transfer all the state owned land and industries et al in the former Soviet Union to private ownership. (seems that much of that transfer has been 'sweetheart' deals that made a few oligarchs.
Apparently Bundy paid his grazing fees before 1993. I still don't know what 'changes' happened in 1993 to 'protect the turtle' except a reduction in grazing density, recognizing that this may have been a significant change in production capacity with no reduction in grazing fee or even an increase in grazing fee. Anybody know precisely?

TexasLadyinCA (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Wow! "Quit sucking at the public teat" really? Bundy's family had use of this land for decades before the BLM was even created. Once created, it asked him to sign restrictions. He refused. The other, ALL of them, that signed are not now able to use the land. Their businesses are gone, and they no longer ranch. Really? Yes, really. Our government ebbs and flows as to what needs to be done. Who can trust it? Does it tell you something that all the others are gone that signed? It should if you're thinking. Our government does not do things for the public good. Our government does things based on what is fashionable at the time. Once you are going hungry and don't have meat you can afford, you'll understand. Bundy is using his "grandfather rights" to keep use of the land, and in the west, grandfather rights have been argued and won in court. I realize that he has been ordered by court to act in a certain way, and he has not. But when a court orders something that is wrong, I think people should refuse (if they can afford to do so in order that laws and rulings change for the good of the public). Bundy has offered to pay, but they have refused! "SUCKING AT THE PUBLIC TEAT" is not the issue since he has offered to pay! But they won't accept his check because he won't sign to be limited by BLM. Why should he when his family has had use of the same land for 100 years? And if he is using it, and if the land is not ruined or overused, then he has done a great job. Looking at the land that the federal government has allowed thousands of wild horses to be on, I'd say they are clueless about using the land. Maybe they need to go and learn something from Bundy. Let them clear up their mess before they start looking to mess someone else up. I don't know Bundy, and for your information, my husband and I own land, do not use government land for grazing, and have enough income that we don't have needs and have most of our wants fulfilled. So nobody can say we're prejudiced. Bundy is doing things that will benefit farmers and ranchers all over. Maybe the government will stop controlling so much land and agencies will stop acting like they are little gods when he case is completed. I hope so. We need government not so active in our personal business and businesses. (OH, and I don't have any trouble with the government nor do I owe taxes. I just think our government has overstepped their boundaries.)

Dustin Cox (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Thank You

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Amen!

Charlie Vaughn (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

The issue of harm being brought to the Desert Tortoise is associated with the Endangered Species Act but the harm the cattle would impose upon the turtle isn't being identified, so it seems the BLM is crying foul without justifying and describing how the ESA is being violated. Are the cows eating them, trampling them to death or competing for the same vegetative resource? It's clear that the BLM and the ESA were not in existence when the progenitors of the Bundy's began grazing of the land and at that specific point in time, what was the Desert Tortoise population in regard to its present population? Has there been an actual reduction in the population due to cattle grazing over the past century or has it increased? If these questions haven't' been answered, how can it be said that this species is being harmed? If it can be said that the BLM is the steward of the land then why isn't it evident that they have worked with Mr. Bundy to establish a grazing plan that would mitigate harm and enhance the environment in such a way that the Desert Tortoise would thrive and the grazing of the cattle could continue. In regard to the allegation by the BLM that Bundy owes grazing fees. When did this debt begin and how did it accrue to date? At the time the Bundy family began raising cattle in southeastern Nevada there was no BLM and whether or not Nevada was a state or territory in management of cattle grazing is not clear. If they were in control of this practice, did they assess a fee for cattle grazing? If so at what point in time did they acquiesce that authority to the BLM and through what process. Did the Bundy interest in those lands cease or diminish due to some sort of legislative process and if so were they compensated for the loss or diminishment of their perceived right to graze cattle upon those lands? Is their right to graze cattle on these lands a grandfathered right that is immune from BLM authority? It is not clear whether a court of competent jurisdiction has answered these questions so it seems that the Bundy families right to graze cattle on these lands is linked to the authority that was in existence when the family first grazed cattle in southeastern Nevada.

on Apr 16, 2014

If you go to Glen Becks radio talk with Mr. Bundy, Mr. Bundy is protesting that public lands should have been returned to Nevada as they were in Eastern States. The logic of his protest (which I agree with) can be found here:

http://www.csgwest.org/annualmeeting/documents/CSGPublicLand-Barrus.pdf

September 17, 1787 U.S. Constitution, Article IV (the New States Article) grants to Congress “the power to dispose” of the lands in the territories and to make needful rules and
regulations to dispose of the lands (Note: Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 17 (Powers Delegated to Congress) only delegates power to own limited “enclaves,” for limited purposes, and only if purchased and only with the consent of the state legislature).

1934 Taylor Grazing Act provided that it was merely a management act “pending final disposal of the lands.”

So read the above link and then hopefully one that has may support Utah and other states in what is rightfully theirs through the precedence of the New States Enabling Act. Become well informed and decide what is right. Then inform your congressmen that they should return these lands. If not then be prepared to support these State with your tax dollars and bail them out when they go bankrupt. New Mexico is headed that way.

LineCreek (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court has several times disagreed with you. Disposal of federal lands (from 1788 on) depended on government policy. Constitution gave the government the option to dispose or not dispose. Issue is well settled law. Days of free graze are long over (unless you are a scofflaw rancher like Bundy).

on Apr 16, 2014

Well, the council of state governments seem to disagree with you. Please provide the cases or Supreme Court Decisions. By the way, did you read the referenced links? Why the difference between the eastern and western states?

TexasLadyinCA (not verified)
on Apr 17, 2014

If "days of free graze" are over, then why did the government NOT accept his checks for 20 years? He offered: They refused. Government lands should be used and managed properly--not left for waste. Have you ever been to Nevada? I doubt it from your comments. I have many times, and I've lived there. His land and cattle look about average from what I've seen. You are obviously clueless with no knowledge--so why speak? The voice you used here stinks of resentment (and maybe jealousy). I do not understand that. I hope Bundy wins and land gets turned back to the states. I hope he wins and grandfather rights are sustained. I hope he wins because our government needs to be more respectful and not come to someone's place with assault rifles, attack dogs and snipers with intent to steal (committing a crime because why else would you come armed for bear?) who pointed guns at the peaceful American citizens who were apparently only there to support the illegal seizure. The government should not steal someone else's property like they tried to do with Bundy's cattle. The BLM people stole property when they tried to take animals not owned by them out of the state (a federal crime) and sell them (without proof of purchase) and without proof of ownership (brands). And the guy who actually loaded the animals are co-conspirators. I would say that everyone of the people involved in removing his cattle should be arrested and put in jail. In days gone by, the cattle owners used to hang cattle thieves right on the spot, and it was completely legal. So, what do you know about the law and this situation other than having an opinion which is based on...what?

Anonymous Beef Farmer (not verified)
on Apr 17, 2014

to Texas Lady:
Bundy tried to pay the Nevada State Government, not the Federal Government. The land is owned by the Federal Government. If you carefully peruse the articles and links, you will be able to discern the facts of this case.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

pay them and move on

AZ rancher in NM (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

I to can only respond to "Sucking at the public teat" you apparently are so out of touch with federal lands grazing that you respond in a jealous tone. You can go out and buy a federal land grazing permit with a deeded base as the commensurate base to that permit, free society to choose. You apparently have not or could not afford one. Otherwise you would not be complaining. I have had both USFS, BLM, and State allotments that are held by base deeded property, and I will assure you that they are expensive to operate. I would much rather run an aum on a few acres versus the mega acres required to run on a permit. The endangered species act has caused the cost of public lands ranching to escalate. We have to put up with the predators(wolves, lions, bear, coyotes and yes people at times) that the public wants on their lands. This comes at a cost to the rancher on public lands, with dismal calf crops. The costs are also increased by the regulations(Code of Federal Regulations) not law, set forth by the regulatory agency. BLM and USFS each operate by separate CFRs. But they are supposed to be a "Federal Agency". The agencies expend so much money fighting fires that they have none for the most nominal improvement needed to their land. The fires are the result of the mismanaged land, no logging, no grazing, lack of the multiple use concept. Apparently the turtle has survived and will continue whether or not cattle are present. Single species management of the public lands is not the answer. We also had a forest allotment,not permit, that had been in my family for well over 100 years, long before the inception of the forest service. It was not the degradation of the land as much as the range wars over water that prompted the federal govt. to come in and establish allotment boundaries .Back then the government was for the people not against the people. Once a grandfathered allotment is sold, it is reissued as a permit by the regulatory land agency. Ranchers were gentle broke to this concept and accepted it over time. Then came the Taylor grazing act and in the middle 70s the environmentalist started the Sagebrush Rebellion, Cattle Free by !93 and the multitude of charitable contribution organizations(TNC, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, SW Center for Biological Diversity). These organizations are constantly suing the land agencies and using your tax dollars to pay their attorneys thru the Equal Access Justice Act. This law was intended for the average american citizen to litigate the federal government, not the mega million organizations that pay no taxes on their contributions, but pay their CEOs very highly. Cliven Bundy is not the first rancher with the fortitude to stand up for his grandfathered right to graze, the Klump family in SE AZ did so in the late 80s to early 90s. Most public land ranchers have to cede to the government regulations for they have very little deeded base to continue ranching, ie the govt. controls the land to these ranchers. This is where the private property rights and the govt. overreach come into play and you have these conflicts arise. The constitution applies to all americans, not just those that live in town. Did the BLM LEOs really need assault dogs and tactical gear, appears to me that they incited this riot and should be charged for inciting a riot under state law.

LineCreek (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Had to toss in another thought. If Bundy gets away with it, I will immediately lay claim to the 3500 acres of BLM abutting my property. Good mule deer and grouse land!
Then when the pass opens up, will head up to Lamar Valley in Yellowstone Park and lay claim to another couple thousand acres. Really good summer pasture (if it weren't for all them bison!) My grandad had a lot of historical use up there.
After that, there are lots of national forests with good country...the opportunities are limitless!
And finally, since Bundy's feral cows were trespassing on the Lake Mead national recreation area all these years, maybe I can pick up some land to set up a dock and cabin for a houseboat! What fun!

Stuv (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

Mr. Bundy has ancestral rights. Wow. Wonder what he would say when the people with the real ancestral rights who were hunting buffalo and antelope on that land before Mr Bundy's grandpa came along and kicked them off would have to say about that?

Fact is that Mr. Bundy has no more ancestral rights than the Native Americans do. Mr Bundy's grandpa got the ability to put his cattle on that land because government bullys (The Army) kicked off the Native Americans for him, or at least helped him kick them off. If Bundy's grandpa homesteaded the land and did all the kicking he would have title to the land from homesteader rights.

Looks to me like Bundy is just a tenant. The landlord has the right to evict the tenant for non payment of the rent.

Even the photos of the cattle on the land show that the land is pretty badly over-grazed. I would hate to have to run cattle on that land. The cattle would be skinny and more like antelope than beef cattle. Look at the photos of the cattle. They are pretty skinny and look like they have to walk a really long way to get something to eat.

Just based on those photos, Bundy was probably overgrazing the land. No wonder the little turtle was in danger of extinction.

Between Bundy and the little turtle, I vote for the little turtle. The little turtle was there even before the Native Americans.

Michael Klein (not verified)
on Apr 16, 2014

I would like to ask a herpetologist (biologist who specializes in reptiles) if tortoises and grazing cattle are really incompatible. Perhaps there is a realistic way of managing these two species together.

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