Nevada Cattle Rancher Gets Support From Politicians; Feds Seize His Cattle

By: Val Powell - April 11, 2014

A “range war” between the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and a rancher has reached fever pitch as the BLM surrounded Cliven Bundy’s Clark County ranch with four-wheel drive cars, armed officers, and helicopters.

The war is over 600,000 acres of land near the border of Utah called Gold Butte, controlled by the BLM and used as a habitat for the protected desert tortoise. Ranchers who allow their cattle to graze there have to pay fees, which Bundy stopped paying since 1993.

According to Bundy, he has rights to the land since his Mormon ancestors have worked there since the 1880’s. He further stated that there is no federal authority on the land, which belongs to Nevada.

Just last week, the BLM also seized grazing cattle “in violation of a law” meant to protect the tortoise. Kirsten Cannon, spokeswoman for the BLM said that it was a last resort, blaming Bundy for forcing a range war.

Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, claims that BLM’s actions have resulted in the death of many of their cattle.

Christie Vanover, spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said that they have to account for citizens’ safety in the face of threats that could harm them.

Cannon also stated that Bundy has been trespassing for more than 20 years, and that he owes $1.1 million to the federal government for grazing fees. Local authorities also arrested Bundy’s son Dave last Sunday. According to Dave’s aunt, her nephew was arrested for simply taking pictures of what the government officials were doing. He was released the next day.

Bundy has help from two top leaders. Both Sen. Dean Heller and Gov. Brian Sandoval have come to his rescue, saying that the BLM’s actions were heavy-handed. According to Heller, the BLM is handling the situation poorly.

Sandoval agreed, saying that there exists an atmosphere of intimidation and that they should change their approach.

Bundy claims that the situation is bigger than his cattle, and that this is an issue of freedom, liberty and constitutional rights.

He further said that he’s willing to pay grazing fees, as long as it is to Clark County, not the BLM.

Image via YouTube

About the Author

Val PowellI'm a content writer, blogger, SEO enthusiast, visual artist, world traveler and lover of spicy foods. I also live and work in Queens, New York. FOLLOW ME on Twitter! @webnewsreporter or LIKE ME on Facebook! webnewsreporter

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  • deja

    I’m having difficulty understanding Dean Heller and Brian Sandoval’s position that the BLM acted ‘heavy-handed’ for enforcing FEDERAL LAW! Over and over we see preferential treatment for cattle ranchers that live off public lands at a ‘NET LOSS’ to taxpayers—and that’s for the ones that actually pay the grazing fees! Here we have a cattle rancher STEALING food off public lands to feed their cattle for FREE, owes more than a million dollars to taxpayers, he refused to remove his welfare cattle at the request of the BLM, and somehow the BLM overreacted?? Huh??
    Senator Heller and Governor Sandoval—how much campaign money have you received from the cattle industry??? Thank you BLM for doing your job and enforcing the law!!

    • Maryland Girl

      You really should learn the facts before you run your mouth. And just an F.Y.I., Bundy tried to pay Clark County, but they never cashed his checks.

      *UPDATE: Those who say Bundy is a “deadbeat” are making inaccurate claims. Bundy has in fact paid fees to Clark County, Nevada in an arrangement pre-dating the BLM. The BLM arrived much later, changed the details of the setup without consulting with Bundy — or any other rancher — and then began systematically driving out cattle and ranchers. Bundy refused to pay BLM, especially after they demanded he reduce his heard’s head count down to a level that would not sustain his ranch. Bundy OWNS the water and forage rights to this land. He paid for these rights. He built fences, established water ways, and constructed roads with his own money, with the approval of Nevada and BLM. When BLM started using his fees to run him off the land and harassing him, he ceased paying. So should BLM reimburse him for managing the land and for the confiscation of his water and forage rights?
      ——————————————————————————–
      Let me educate you on how Harry Reid and the Feds tried to take away this mans property. Also, the other ranchers were bought out for pennies on the dollar. I guess your ok with highway robbery too. As long as it’s the feds.
      ———————————————————————————
      A tortoise isn’t the reason why BLM is harassing a 67 year-old rancher. They want his land. The tortoise wasn’t of concern when Harry Reid worked BLM to literally change the boundaries of the tortoise’s habitat to accommodate the development of his top donor, Harvey Whittemore. Whittemore was convicted of illegal campaign contributions to Senator Reid. Reid’s former senior adviser is now the head of BLM. Reid is accused of using the new BLM chief as a puppet to control Nevada land (already over 84% of which is owned by the federal government) and pay back special interests. BLM has proven that they’ve a situational concern for the desert tortoise as they’ve had no problem waiving their rules concerning wind or solar power development. Clearly these developments have vastly affected a tortoise habitat more than a century-old, quasi-homesteading grazing area. If only Clive Bundy were a big Reid donor.

      There! It is all spelled out in black and white. Let’s see how you feel when they come for your house.