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AP Spins ‘Dispute’ Between BLM And NV Rancher

From the whirling dervishes at the Associated Press:

Feds to pursue effort to end dispute with rancher

By MARTIN GRIFFITH | April 14, 2014

A day after blinking in a showdown on the range, federal land managers pledged to pursue efforts to resolve a conflict with a southern Nevada rancher who has refused to pay grazing fees for 20 years.

Because that is all there is to it: A rancher has refused to pay grazing fees for 20 years. This is what passes for journalism at the AP.

Bureau of Land Management spokesman Craig Leff said the agency would continue to try to resolve the matter involving rancher Cliven Bundy "administratively and judicially." Bundy owes more than $1 million in grazing fees, according to the bureau.

Here is a little background that the AP leaves out. The Bundy family has been ranching in that area since the 1850s. Bundy claims that he has in fact paid fees to Clark County, Nevada in an arrangement that pre-dates the control of the land by the Bureau of Land Management, which only goes back to the early 1980s.

Bundy claims to have paid for the water and forage rights to this land in question. He says he built fences, established water ways, and constructed roads with his own money, and he did it with the approval of Nevada and the BLM.

Bundy claims that in 1993, the BLM, used the ‘endangered desert turtle’ as an excuse to change his fees and drastically limit the number of cattle he could graze on the land without consulting him or any of the ranchers.

Bundy said those fees would have driven him out of business. And, in fact, the 50 other ranchers who were also using these federal lands for grazing have all been driven out of business. Bundy is the last holdout in the area.

And so this month the BLM began rounding up the 900 head of Bundy’s cattle that are still on the federal lands. Which they had planned to auction off for about $1,000 a head, presumably to pay his back fees of $1 million dollars.

But the BLM have even resorted to shooting cattle from helicopters and they have even been running them to death. Which is especially cruel, since this is calving season. Which means the calves will die, too.

This continued until last week, when several groups, including cowboys from the surrounding regions interceded. And the BLM has stopped its operations — for now.

"The door isn’t closed. We’ll figure out how to move forward with this," he said Sunday….

Meaning, they will pick up where they left off when nobody is watching anymore.

The fight between Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management widened into a debate about states’ rights and federal land-use policy. Bundy does not recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada.

Which is a tenuous position, given that Nevada and other territories were forced to cede these lands to the federal government as part of their admission to the union. But this has still been a legal argument in the courts almost ever since.

On Saturday, the bureau released about 400 head of cattle it had seized from Bundy back to him only hours after announcing a premature halt to the roundup due to safety concerns.

It could have been due to "safety concerns." And it could have been because some in the conservative media were noticing the grasping, liver-spotted hand of Harry Reid behind a lot of this. (More on this later.)

The operation, expected to take up to a month, ended after only a week. The cattle were freed after hundreds of states’ rights protesters, some of them armed militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals’ release.

"Armed militia members" the magic words. And never mind that most of the protesters were cowboys, as you can see from the photos of the showdown.

Las Vegas Police Lt. Dan Zehnder told The Associated Press that Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie was able to negotiate a resolution after talking with Bundy.

But Leff stressed that the bureau did not take part in the negotiations. "The BLM and National Park Service did not cut any deal and negotiate anything," he said. "There was no deal we made."

The several hundred cows gathered during the roundup were short of the BLM’s goal of 900 cows that it says have been trespassing on U.S. land without required grazing permits for over 20 years.

The showdown over Bundy’s cattle was the latest chapter in the Sagebrush Rebellion, which was launched by Nevada lawmakers in the 1970s in an attempt to turn control of federal land to the states.

In reality, the real rebellion has been how the ranchers have been driven off federal land by the environmentalists. And the land has been given to the politically connected.

Environmentalists accused the bureau of capitulating to threats of violence from armed Bundy supporters and urged them to pursue action against the rancher.

"The BLM has a sacred duty to manage our public lands in the public interest, to treat all users equally and fairly," said Rob Mrowka, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Instead it is allowing a freeloading rancher and armed thugs to seize hundreds of thousands of acres of the people’s land as their own fiefdom."

This is how people who celebrate diversity always talk. Their opponents are always ‘thugs.’ (By the way, the Center For Biological Diversity has played a large role in the Spotted Owl controversy, too.)

"The BLM is setting a dangerous precedent in announcing that it will pick and choose who has to follow federal laws and who it will reward for violating them," he added.

Hilarious. This is actually true about the way the Department of Justice is ignoring our immigration laws. But it isn’t true here.

Leff declined to comment, reiterating that the bureau’s top concern was the safety of its employees and the public. In April 2012, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the bureau for canceling a planned roundup of Bundy’s cattle at the last minute.

The dispute that ultimately triggered last week’s roundup dates to 1993, when the bureau cited concern for the federally protected desert tortoise in the region. The bureau was implementing two federal court orders issued last year to remove Bundy’s cattle after making repeated efforts to resolve the matter outside court.

You see? It’s really just a simple matter. Almost as simple as, say, carrying out a judge’s deportation order. About which there can never be any question.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, April 14th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “AP Spins ‘Dispute’ Between BLM And NV Rancher”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    .. and the Battle of Athens was only about a vote-dispute ..

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