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Feds move in on Nevada rancher's herd over illegal grazing

By Robert Gearty
Published April 07, 2014
FoxNews.com


For 20 years, a tough-as-leather Nevada rancher and the federal government have been locked in a bitter range war over cattle grazing rights.

This weekend the confrontation got worse, when the feds hired contract cowboys to start seizing Cliven Bundy's cattle, which have been grazing on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The government officials brought a show of force that included dozens of armed agents in SUVs and helicopters.

Bundy, 67, who has been a rancher all his life, accuses BLM of stampeding over on his rights.

“This is a lot bigger deal than just my cows,” Bundy told FoxNews.com. “It’s a statement for freedom and liberty and the Constitution.”

The fight involves a 600,000-acre area under BLM control called Gold Butte, near the Utah border. The vast and rugged land is the habitat of the protected desert tortoise, and the land has been off-limits for cattle since 1998. Five years before that, when grazing was legal, Bundy stopped paying federal fees for the right.

“For more than two decades, cattle have been grazed illegally on public lands in northeast Clark County,” the BLM said in a statement. “BLM and (the 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.”

But Bundy said he has grazed cattle on the land for decades, and his father and father's father did long before his 1,000 cattle roamed the area. He has long defied orders from bureaucrats he says are bent on running him out of business.

Just before the round-up began this weekend, Bundy said federal agents surrounded his 150-acre ranch. His son was arrested on Sunday in an incident involving the agents.

“They’ve been bringing men in and equipment and setting up a compound,” Bundy told FoxNews.com Monday. “They got helicopters flying low. They got snipers around the ranch. Our access to public lands has been blocked.”

Bundy said he is worried BLM might try to turn the situation into another Waco or Ruby Ridge.

“Yeah, there’s a little fear in me,” Bundy said. “They’re definitely set up to do that.”

Federal officials said BLM enforcement agents were dispatched in response to statements Bundy made that the agency perceived as threats.

“When threats are made that could jeopardize the safety of the American people, the contractors and our personnel; we have the responsibility to provide law enforcement to account for their safety,” National Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover told reporters Sunday.

Bundy, who does not have an attorney, spoke to FoxNews.com from Las Vegas, where he had gone early Monday morning to ask Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie for help. Last week, Gillespie told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that neither Bundy nor the BLM should resort to violence.

“No drop of human blood is worth spilling over any cow,” Gillespie said.

Back at the ranch, Bundy's wife Carol said she and her husband were not looking for trouble.

“We’re not pointing guns at anyone, but we’re sure getting a lot of guns pointed at us,” she said.

The trouble started when Bundy stopped paying grazing fees in 1993. He said he didn't have to because his Mormon ancestors worked the land since the 1880s, giving him rights to the land.

“We own this land,” he said, not the feds. He said he is willing to pay grazing fees but only to Clark County, not BLM.

“Years ago, I used to have 52 neighboring ranchers,” he said. “I’m the last man standing. How come? Because BLM regulated these people off the land and out of business.”

He said he won’t let the feds do that to him.

“I said, ‘No.’ Then, ‘Hell, no,’” he said.

BLM said in a statement two judges ordered Bundy to remove his cattle from Gold Butte. The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, said the federal action was long overdue.

“Despite having no legal right to do so, cattle from Bundy’s ranch have continued to graze throughout the Gold Butte area, competing with tortoises for food, hindering the ability of plants to recover from extensive wildfires, trampling rare plants, damaging ancient American Indian cultural sites and threatening the safety of recreationists,” Rob Mrowka, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement.

http://www.foxnews.com/politic...ver-illegal-grazing/
 
Posts: 3678 | Registered: April 18, 2007Report This Post
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damned free grazers. ;-)
 
Posts: 4133 | Location: CO | Registered: April 08, 2009Report This Post
Knows too little
about too much
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Damned BLM and .gov. They probably have their very own SWAT team surrounding this poor guy.

Regardless of right or wrong, noboby overblows like .gov.

RMD




“I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”
J.N. Mattis
 
Posts: 10808 | Location: L.A. - Lower Alabama | Registered: April 06, 2008Report This Post
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quote:
BLM said in a statement two judges ordered Bundy to remove his cattle from Gold Butte. The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, said the federal action was long overdue.

“Despite having no legal right to do so, cattle from Bundy’s ranch have continued to graze throughout the Gold Butte area, competing with tortoises for food, hindering the ability of plants to recover from extensive wildfires, trampling rare plants, damaging ancient American Indian cultural sites and threatening the safety of recreationists,” Rob Mrowka, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement.
You're shitting me, right? It's 1k cows (according to the story) for Christ's sake. Screw the damn tortoise. If they can't coexist, well, see ya. As for ruining the rest of what this tree hugging moron is complaining about, go blow it out your ass.


-----------------------------
The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics. - Thomas Sowell

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman
 
Posts: 19565 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: April 30, 2006Report This Post
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WHAT???

This guy is a thief. He is stealing the grass of the Federal Govt, and has been for 20+ years.

I am all for the "little guy" but if you can't raise 1k head of cattle on your land, don't use mine to make a buck.

If this guy can get away with stealing, maybe I should stop paying my real estate taxes because I might be part indian.


--------------------------

I own a bunch of Sigs with Beavertails...
 
Posts: 496 | Location: NE Ohio | Registered: November 09, 2012Report This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by SigMaverick:
WHAT???

This guy is a thief. He is stealing the grass of the Federal Govt, and has been for 20+ years.

I am all for the "little guy" but if you can't raise 1k head of cattle on your land, don't use mine to make a buck.

If this guy can get away with stealing, maybe I should stop paying my real estate taxes because I might be part indian.


If something gets taken away from you, and you take it back, who is the thief?


___________________________________________________________________________

"You know you are an alcoholic when you start approaching rifle caliber drunk." -billnchristy

"After thousands of rounds without cleaning, the internal components were...unclean." -luckygunner.com
 
Posts: 1324 | Location: College Station, TX | Registered: July 18, 2006Report This Post
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Right to
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What makes this different from the kooks who decide the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended and its predecessors are unconstitutional so they aren't paying their income tax, or defying any other ordinary law or regulation in effect?

There was a story on Fox over the weekend of a ranch family who DID appear to have some sort of claim to the land they were using that BLM ran roughshod over, but somehow that is different than this guy who stopped paying for grazing rights.

Unfortunately, one cannot acquire rights by adverse use against the government, at least in most situations.

If you pay rent for 30 years, then stop and claim you own the property, you lose, even against private claimants.




Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

"You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas." -- David Crockett, former Congressman

"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Justice Janice Rogers Brown
 
Posts: 28544 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Report This Post
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I'm not certain that it was his to begin with.

The gist of the story as I read it is that his forefathers used the land for grazing and that sorta bestows some sort of permanent ability to use the land in perpetuity by him and presumably all of his heirs as well.

I think the part that does him in is that he had a use agreement with BLM and he just stopped making the payments but continued using the land. If he always had this historical claim to the land how come he didn't invoke it to avoid the fees from the beginning.

My sense is that he's always had his cows there, likes the free open space for them and just can't understand why he's being bothered over tortoise land. Can a tortoise co-exist with cows? I'm sure they can but if it's a thousand cows and they eat up the vegetation? Don't know about that since I'm not really sure what a desert tortoise eats.

I can't work up a lot of sympathy for him unless I knew a bit more. I'm definitely not siding with the BLM and they are using the heavy handed approach however I wish there was more to read.
 
Posts: 2034 | Location: "You can't just go to Walmart with a gift card and get a new brother." Janice Serrano | Registered: May 03, 2005Report This Post
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Sorta like the "right" to log 600,000 acres or even 600 acres of national forest forever without paying for it.



10th Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
 
Posts: 8787 | Location: Near Timberline in Colorado. | Registered: May 19, 2006Report This Post
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quote:
don't use mine to make a buck.



Do you really think it was yours???

It belongs to Lord Barack.

RMD




“I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”
J.N. Mattis
 
Posts: 10808 | Location: L.A. - Lower Alabama | Registered: April 06, 2008Report This Post
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The guy is a thief. He was paying rent, then quit 20 years ago. If I quit paying rent I get kicked off the land. Why should this guy be different? Does it matter who the landlord is?



"I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared." Thomas Jefferson
 
Posts: 773 | Location: Hartford, AL | Registered: April 05, 2007Report This Post
Strewth!
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It's desert.... Think Sahara, not Montana. If that guy can keep 1000 head of cattle alive on that land, he's a genius, not a thief.... The folks worried about Indian cultural sites and wildlife should be a lot more concerned about the weekend warriors with their off road vehicles than a working rancher.


"Indecision may, or may not, be my problem!"

 
Posts: 855 | Location: Las Vegas area | Registered: October 06, 2010Report This Post
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My guess is the tortoise has nothing to do with it.

The guy had a contract with the gov't to rent the land for grass, but stopped paying for it at some point.

Tortoise or no, the gov't would still "own" the land.

If he wanted to assert his right to graze without renting, he should have taken the gov't to court, not stop paying. Now he looks like the bad guy.

That fact that his mormon ancestors blah blah has nothing to do with it. The native americans had the land before those mormons, but no one is paying them any rent. At worst, the US gov't will assert its custodianship over the land, therefore, you still owe to gov't money for grazing rights.

Don't pay for the gov'ts grass? Prepare to present your ass.
 
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Remember the Sagebrush Rebellion or Revolt

They lost
or at least they didn't win.

Why the Sagebrush Revolt Burned Out

The timely end of the Sagebrush Rebellion



10th Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
 
Posts: 8787 | Location: Near Timberline in Colorado. | Registered: May 19, 2006Report This Post
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Full disclosure, I am a cattle producer so I am not a disintrested party Smile

I don't know anything about this story but what I read above, but if it is true as written then I stand by my statement that this guy is a thief. It says he stopped paying rent 5 years before the nonsense about the tortoise started. If his gripe was "I have a contract to use this land as long as I pay rent so the Feds can go pound sand" I would be pulling for him. It is not. He quit paying rent because he thinks he has a right to the land. Maybe he has a legal claim (I doubt it, but maybe). If so he should be able to get a court of law to side with him. Hell, I am currently renting a pasture that my family (grandfather, father, and myself) has rented for over 35 years. If I quit paying rent and claim ownership because my family has used it for so long I would expect to get my ass kicked off. How is this guy any different?



"I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared." Thomas Jefferson
 
Posts: 773 | Location: Hartford, AL | Registered: April 05, 2007Report This Post
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I won't argue this case but this cultural diversity group did the same thing with eight ranchers down in the Mojave. Claiming the tortoise was being stepped on by cows causing them to be endangered. Replicas of the baby totoises were put out and every one of them had desert Raven bill marks proving the ravens that are not native to the area but protected by BLM are the ones killing the tortoises.

Sheriff Penrod of San Bernadino county revoked the MOU keeping federal BLM officers from enforcing California law. http://www.rangemagazine.com/a...03/badge-v-badge.htm

These ranchers were grazing this land before there was a BLM. If you look the reason payment was stopped was because of the charges brought by Cultural Diversity. This group uses third year law students from Stanford to work the cases and it has become part of their grade.

All I ask is you look at all sides before you determine ranchers are stealing your federal grass. They are being driven into bankruptcy and extinction by BLM and this off shoot of the California liberal University movement.

The final point is guzzlers. The tortoise is a solitary animal but BLM put in Guzzlers concentrating animals at these artificial water holes spreading disease one of which is a resperatory disease killing the Tortoise. Not to mention nobody has a head count to know if they are endangered or not. Nobody knows how many should reside in an acre and nobody knows how many ever existed.

Respectfully,
Bill
 
Posts: 1973 | Location: Milford California Population 72 | Registered: December 24, 2008Report This Post
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This story has nothing to do with who owns the land. It has to do with what and how .gov will do to enforce it's will on the citizenry.
 
Posts: 803 | Location: Fayetteville, GA | Registered: December 08, 2005Report This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by mjlennon:
This story has nothing to do with who owns the land. It has to do with what and how .gov will do to enforce it's will on the citizenry.


The guy quit paying for the use of the land in 1993. The feds should have kicked his ass off a long time ago.



"I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared." Thomas Jefferson
 
Posts: 773 | Location: Hartford, AL | Registered: April 05, 2007Report This Post
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Did he quit paying or has he placed the fees in a fund managed by the local county?

I know the administration does not have a relationship with the media but there is a lot to this story not mentioned in the article.

Don't rely on the article look into the situation no difference than me believing what the press reported about Air Force officers managing our nuclear assets. I think there may be a little more to it.
 
Posts: 1973 | Location: Milford California Population 72 | Registered: December 24, 2008Report This Post
Wait, what?
Picture of gearhounds
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Yup, he's a thief IMO. BLM charges a pittance for grazing rights, and this guy stopped doing it a long time ago. BLM looks to have made a great effort to let this clown rectify his behavior, and he chose not to.


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"You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget" - The man
 
Posts: 3486 | Location: Martinsburg WV | Registered: April 02, 2011Report This Post
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