This is really pissing me off. Wolves are being slaughtered by the thousands, wild horses continue to be rounded up, yet a Nevada rancher can defy the federal government for twenty years, owe a fortune in fees, graze his cattle on public land that is clearly not his, land he has admitted is not his and get away with it. Of course the right-wing militia was all over this, ready to defend this rancher from the big, bad government, boo-hoo. Wait a minute while I get a hanky and dry my tears.
Wolf advocates have howled to the high heavens for five long years since Obama and his rancher pal, Ken Salazar, delisted wolves in the Northern Rockies in 2009. But we’ve been ignored and demonized. Yet as soon as a rancher hoots and hollers about non-existent grazing rights, the BLM backs down. What magic powers do the ranchers have that we don’t? Armed militias that will huff and puff to get the government’s attention? And while we’re on the subject of attention, thanks MSM (main stream media) for ignoring the wolves’ plight all these years but not failing to cover the hell out of this story. It shows where your priorities lay. If it blusters it leads! Cows over wildlife!
Center For Biological Diversity weighed in on the issue on April 6, believing the BLM would FINALLY enforce the law and remove Bundy’a cattle but as we all know the BLM blinked. Of course they have no trouble ignoring wild horse advocates protesting the ongoing round-ups.
Environmental groups comment on the Bundy cattle roundup
April 6, 2014
Elko Daily Free Press
“Again and again federal judges have said the BLM has the right and duty to remove cattle trespassing in the Gold Butte area to protect desert tortoises and other imperiled species,” said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, which had filed a notice of intent to sue over the lack of action being taken by the federal agencies. “We’re heartened and thankful that the agencies are finally living up to their stewardship duty. The Gold Butte area has been officially designated as critical habitat for threatened tortoises — meaning the area is essential to their long-term survival as a species.”
“Mr. Bundy has long falsely believed that Gold Butte is his ranch,” said Terri Robertson, long-time advocate for protecting the rich cultural and natural resources of Gold Butte and currently president of Friends of Sloan Canyon. “We all know that is not the reality, and it is time for him for obey the law.”
“Mr. Bundy’s defiance of the law and decades-long free grazing on public lands is a poke in the eye of every rancher who rightfully pays for their use of the public lands, and a further thumb of the nose to those responsible, progressive ranchers who graze sustainably, allowing for threatened species to survive on their allotments,” said Karen Boeger, a former BLM advisory committee member.
ON Kilter: Trespass cattleman not above the law
Written by Dallas Hyland on March 28, 2014
According to the BLM’s press release published by St. George News Thursday: “The BLM and (National Park Service) have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially. Impoundment of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is an option of last resort.”
The alleged owner of the cattle is Bunkerville, Nev., resident Cliven Bundy. According to a Tuesday report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said he will ‘do whatever it takes’ to protect his cattle and his property rights.”
A range war of sorts now ensues.
Bundy admits he does not own the land he lays claim to use of and that he never has owned the land
Note that Bundy admits he does not own the land he lays claim to use of and that he never has owned the land. According to an article in Let’s Talk Nevada: “Beginning twenty years ago in 1993, the BLM has been in dispute with Bundy over his right to graze the Bunkerville allotment of the Gold Butte area. After the BLM terminated Bundy’s grazing permit for Bundy’s failure to pay required grazing fees in 1998, Clark County, as administrator for the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, purchased the grazing rights from the BLM for 375,000 dollars and retired them, in order to fulfill requirements under that plan to protect endangered desert tortoises.”
Ardent supporters of Bundy argue that although people in this country are beholden to federal law, this is an exception because the laws prohibiting some of his practices are not legal ones to begin with.
Were that it was so simple.
My colleague and opinion columnist Bryan Hyde said in a post on Fox News 1450 Facebook:
Cliven has successfully fought the BLM for many years on the grounds that they were breaking their own laws or making up rules as they went. How can a person play ball when his opponent claims the power to change the rules mid-game? I believe the Bundys are better conservationists than most environmentalists.
In doing so, Hyde sounds somewhat like one laying claim to a valid argument; but, pay attention, its made of straw.
what is being waged here is not an environmental war but rather one over simple noncompliance with the law
While it is environmental concerns that laid the foundation for the laws making grazing on the public land in question illegal, what is being waged here is not an environmental war but rather one over simple noncompliance with the law – law that Bundy has been willfully and defiantly violating for decades.
According to a March 11 report in The Mesquite Citizen Journal: “… the BLM is working to comply with two court orders issued by Federal Judges, one in July 2013 and the other in October 2013. Those two orders follow numerous others issued by the courts clear back to 1998.”
The orders were for Bundy to remove his cattle from federal land.
One would be challenged to find any case where this kind of lawbreaking went unfettered for so long.
One would be challenged to find any case where this kind of lawbreaking went unfettered for so long.
What eventually happened was that in response to the blatant disregard for law and seeming protection from local municipalities, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the BLM for not enforcing the court orders. They are now being required under federal mandate to do their jobs. Why to this point the BLM has not done so is open to speculation.
What stands out here locally is the predictable support for Bundy and his defiance of the federal government
What stands out here locally is the predictable support for Bundy and his defiance of the federal government, a prevalent attitude, however misguided, in Utah.
Why misguided you ask?
In 2012, environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to federal prison for upending a federal auction of state land to oil industry. DeChristopher posed as a bidder winning thousands of acres and when he was discovered to be a fraud, he was charged and eventually convicted.
It was eventually revealed in the court proceedings that the auction was in fact illegal to begin with, but this did not avert DeChristopher’s culpability.
I wager not one of the ardent defenders of Bundy’s pseudo-patriotic defiance of state defended DeChistopher in what is pound-for-pound the same scenario.DeChristopher broke the law for about an hour. Bundy has been breaking it repeatedly for 20 years
Except … DeChristopher broke the law for about an hour. Bundy has been breaking it repeatedly for 20 years.
When an individual impassioned about a cause, a business, a family tradition, sees the laws impeding them as unjust and takes illegal action to amend it, they are perhaps just in their cause but in the end they learn what all of us must learn: to right injustice in civil society, one must operate within the constructs of the law or suffer the consequences.
DeChristopher did. So will Bundy.
Bundy would do well to grasp that he does not live in the Nevada Territory, he lives in the United States.
See you out there.
Emotions run high as BLM closes 600,000 acres for cattle roundup
Posted March 26, 2014 – 11:11am Updated March 27, 2014 – 12:14am
By HENRY BREAN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Federal authorities will restrict access to almost 600,000 acres of public land for the next seven weeks as they prepare to round up what they call “trespass cattle” in the desert 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
The Bureau of Land Management’s temporary closure of the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa and Bunkerville Flats areas takes effect today and lasts through May 12. During that time, federal officials and contract cowboys plan to impound several hundred cattle left on the range by Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy as part of a dispute that is about to come to a head after more than 20 years.
Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said will “do whatever it takes” to protect his cattle and his property rights.
Federal officials have repeatedly ordered him to remove his livestock from a federal grazing allotment he stopped paying the government for in 1993. The BLM officially closed the former Bunkerville allotment to grazing in 1999 out of concern for the federally protected desert tortoise, but Bundy’s cattle remain.
The BLM made a similar move to impound the rogue livestock in 2012, but the operation was hastily canceled the day before it was set to begin in part out of fear of a violent confrontation.
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie met with Bundy several times as the 2012 roundup was being organized, and he has been in contact with the rancher ever since. He visited the Bundy family at their spread along the Virgin River a few weeks ago, when it became clear that no compromise could be found to stave off federal action.
U.S. Agency Backs Down In Standoff With Cattle Rancher
The BLM announced Saturday that it will stop its operation targeting Bundy’s cattle, citing safety concerns. But officials maintain that the rancher still owes more than $1 million in unpaid fees that date back more than 20 years.
“The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” the agency said in a news release issued today.
The agency’s partial withdrawal comes as a heated debate continues over Bundy’s use of the land – and over the BLM’s decision to take the cattle. The rancher and his family say the government went too far in its efforts; last week, he with the agency over the situation.
Statement from Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze on the Cattle Gather in Nevada
Release Date: 04/12/14
As we have said from the beginning of the gather to remove illegal cattle from federal land consistent with court orders, a safe and peaceful operation is our number one priority. After one week, we have made progress in enforcing two recent court orders to remove the trespass cattle from public lands that belong to all Americans.
Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.
We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner.
Ranching has always been an important part of our nation’s heritage and continues throughout the West on public lands that belong to all Americans. This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.
Pretty weak statement. If wolf or wild horse advocates threatened to start a range war over the killing of wolves and the round-up of wild horses, we’d be put in jail, no questions asked. But when a bunch of bullies threaten the feds, what happens? They back down and issue a BS statement that will have about as much effect on this rancher and his supporters as it’s had for the last twenty years, which is none!! As you can see the BLM statement wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on because they’ve released all four hundred of Bundy’s cows they rounded up!
Feds release all cows gathered during NV roundup
So a rancher can get away with threatening the federal government to “do whatever it takes” to protect his property? What property is he talking about? The public land he’s been illegally grazing his cattle on for twenty years? The Gold Butte land that’s supposed to be a protected area for threatened tortoises? That land?
Top Photo: Dicklyon / Wikimedia / CC-BY-SA-2.0
Bottom Photo: Wikimedia
Posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, Biodiversity
Tags: BLM, Gold Butte Area Nevada, illegal cattle grazing, grazing fees owed, BLM backs down, 1993-2014 land dispute, CBD, desert tortoise, federal court orders defied