Right wing seizes on Bundy trespass to go after Harry Reid-

When a local issue goes national, it is often warped into other political agendas. We see that clearly with Cliven Bundy’s 20 years of public land cattle trespass coming to a head.

A cursory search shows a sudden explosion of articles claiming Nevada’s senior senator, Harry Reid, wants Bundy’s land to build a solar plant to enrich himself and his son. Since Reid is the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, the radical right has every incentive to harm him by buying this false claim. Such a blatant lie needs to be exposed.

Cliven Bundy has been trespassing for 21 years over 750,000 acres of U.S. public land to the south of Mesquite and Bunkerville, Nevada. Part of this used to be called the Bunkerville grazing allotment. Bundy had a grazing permit to it. A U.S. grazing permit is not fee simple ownership of the land. It is a mere rental. Bundy lost his permit to graze by refusing to pay his rent. Bundy’s actual private property in land is his melon farm at Bunkerville, what looks like maybe 100 acres on Google Earth.  There is a solar farm under construction. But it is not on the huge swath of land on which Bundy’s cattle trespass.  The solar facility under construction is near the Moapa Indian Reservation about ten miles closer to Las Vegas than Bundy’s place.

The Wildlife News has been critical of many solar farms in the desert because of the massive destruction of wildlife habitat, but this farm under construction is not one of the dangerous mirror farms like Ivanpah near Primm, Nevada/California. It is a photovoltaic farm and it is being built to allow decommissioning of the Reid Gardner coal generation station nearby. Reid Gardner is one of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation. In addition, the new solar plant will also help the tribe which has been badly abused in the past, being left with only a 1000 acre reservation. No, the plant is not on the reservation. See the local newspaper: Reid Helps Moapa Band Break Ground On Solar Project. Moapa Valley Progress. March 26, 2014.

The Reid Gardner coal generation station. Copyright Ralph Maughan

The Reid Gardner coal generation station. Copyright Ralph Maughan

It is amazing that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones would actually publish a map showing the location of the project. Anyone with the least geographic information can see it is not on the land where Bundy has been stealing the public’s grass for a generation.

There is also a solar farm proposal near Laughlin, Nevada, at the very southern tip of the state.  Some of the right wing news outlets also confuses this with the trespass land near Mesquite. Here is an earlier story about the Laughlin project. The Chinese Try to Harness the Nevada Sun.   Regarding this plant, back on April 5, Bloomberg Businessweek tried to work a negative Chinese angle. Now it too has been morphed onto the public land where Bundy has no right to graze and where he has threatened violence if not allowed to continue his illegal activity.

The only thing that has been proposed for the public land where Bundy’s cows continue to trespass is some kind of protective classification like a scenic area, recreation area, national monument.

The right wing media is using the unfortunate public ignorance of Nevada geography to make the attack by the armed mob on the BLM into a political point against Senator Reid. Though it is doubtful Bundy knew what would happen, his cause has already been picked up by the Koch Brothers and others who really do want our public land — all of it. They want to transfer it to private ownership directly or through the states. Their Americans for Prosperity front group is trumpeting Bundy’s cause.  The animosity between Senator Reid and the Koch brothers is well known. The Kochs have already spent perhaps 50-million dollars in attack ads this year trying to win a Republican senate majority this fall. Some Republicans worry these energy and chemical barons are trying to build a parallel political party.

Together the two Kochs have 80-100-billion dollars to play with, probably the 5th and 6th richest men on the planet. They can now spend as much as they want on American elections, courtesy of the Supreme Court. They can, and probably will spend more in 2014 than was spent in the entire 2012 campaign. They could fund it many times over. Of course, so will other billionaires, but they will spend less. However, it is the Kochs and Harry Reid that have the argument. It would be nice to talk about Bundy instead.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

179 Responses to Right wing disinformation: Bundy’s Land Is NOT Solar Farm for Harry Reid

  1. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    Ralph- I’m not even sure CLiven Bundy even owns a melon farm. near as I can tell he doesn’t own anything in the way of real property . ( So much for having his ” property rights tramped on by the Gubbamint “. It’s helpful when making such claims to actually have some property to be tramped.)

    Nice snowy day here in Wyoming, so I played ” reporter for a Day ” and searched online for public records of any sort with CLiven Bundy’s name on them Clark Count NV has a very modern , updated public records system online. You can really drill down.

    There are plenty of people named Bundy in Clark County , the bulk of them in or around Bunkerville, the lodestone of this vortex. I presume they are Bundy’s progeny and relatives, since it is said he has 14 grown children . but there is nobody named Cliven …not even in the trusts. As far as having a paper trail for anything at all, this guy’s a ghost.

    I want the major media and the pedigreed journalists with time and resources to do what I did…paint an accurate legal picture of this Cliven Bundy phenom. I think he’s a 2-dimensional cowboy cut out, like you see outside the bars advertising beer. He’s sure no larger than life Neo-Folk Hero or worth writing a 3 chord rockabilly anthem about…

    I think he’s mostly smoke. But even smoke can be unpredictable or dangerous.

    Who do we know that can get the Nevada Brand Inspector or BLM livestock data ? I’ve had my fun for the day

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Cody,

      Wouldn’t it be something if this was an entire house of illusion?

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Cody,

      Is it possible Daddy Bundy’s transfered the property/ranch to his children? A smart move given Bundy’s age. Daughter Stetsy admitted some of the “trespassing” were hers:

      “I also know my dad’s cows, because a few of those cows out there are my own personal cows”

      http://freebeacon.com/issues/blm-wont-say-if-theyve-euthanized-cows-in-ranch-standoff/

      • avatar Chris says:

        Funny side note that I have not seen mentioned…. at least some of those non-Cliven, but still Bundy cows use an unregistered brand!…. Cliven’s brand turned sideways.

      • avatar Fiona says:

        Good lord! They haven’t euthanized “cows” by which I take it you mean “cattle.” Everybody calm down. The main issue for tomorrow is that a bunch of fake frontiersmen with real guns just seized possession and control of open range belonging to you and me–and have such a h*** on from it that they are getting hysterical about grabbing some more tomorrow. Time is not a big deal on the range (as witness the fact that it has taken us 15 years to execute the eviction order) and unless one of the gun nuts loses control, no cattle or people will be killed tomorrow, either.

        • avatar Fiona says:

          And for future reference, city friends, cattle are not “euthanized.” They are butchered, and will meet you later in the week at McDonald’s.

          • avatar Mark L says:

            Hopefully MickyDees won’t take life long feral cattle for their burgers, but who knows?

            I did have the thought of suggesting to Bundy he sell the cattle as ‘freedom cows’ or some other corny name to the highest bidder.

          • avatar Nylene13 says:

            Actually they ARE cows. Cattle are wild, which the helpless domestic cows thrown on our public owned lands are clearly not.
            Hence the yearly shooting of wild natural predators -our coyotes,wolves and cougars- on our public owned lands…to protect the welfare ranchers cows.
            Wild animals belong in the wild, on our public owned wild lands, not beef cows.

            • avatar Thom says:

              Nylene13

              Must be your age (13). “CATTLE” is a term used to describe a herd of bovine which may include cows, bulls, and calves.

              “Cow” pertains to a mama bovine. “Heffer is a female bovine that has never given birth to a calf.

              “Bull” is a male bovine male bovine. A Steer is a male bovine with no nuts.

              The “steer” puts me in mind of the Republican Representatives in not only the congress, but the senate as well. I am a conservative, but being that you may be a youngster I will keep my opinion of the democrats to myself.

              Next time you comment on “cows” you should know what you are talking about. LOL@ Nylene13

    • avatar Chris says:

      Someone in the Bundy family does own a melon farm and normal size “ranch” style house as I have driven past it many, many times.
      https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=36.715906,-114.237174&spn=0.00989,0.021136&t=h&z=16

    • avatar Fiona says:

      Thanks, Cody. I love when people do research! :-))

    • avatar Fiona says:

      Dry range like this is not very productive, and takes several acres to produce each head of the stringy range cattle (btw, the steer in the picture going around is not from this herd, in a million years). Anyway, the point is that western “ranches” consist primarily of federal lands leased to ranchers for, until quite recently, $1 per year per acre. So if you hear that somebody has a 10,000-acre ranch, he has a house and barn and some sheds and a vegetable garden, and a humongous land-lease.

    • avatar Reno Gal says:

      He is listed as owning a brand in this current copy of Nevada brands index:
      http://agri.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/agrinvgov/Content/Animals/Livestock/BrandOwners.pdf

      I found that list here:

      http://agri.nv.gov/Animals/Livestock/Brand_Book/

    • avatar TrueStory says:

      Lying liars telling lies about those telling the truth.

      http://scgnews.com/bundy-ranch-what-youre-not-being-told

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        A funny comment. Cody, maybe you are a truth-telling liar telling lies about the truth? Maybe you are a lying truth-teller telling truths about lies? Maybe you are a . . . . ;-)

    • avatar Jeremy-x says:

      You are all a bunch of government lapdogs and traitors. I wish he would have killed 100 feds.
      – – – – – –
      We usually delete these kind of comments, but it is good to get a sense of some of the Bundy supporters
      Webmaster

    • avatar Celeste says:

      This is the part you’re not getting: No, the solar project isn’t directly on Bundy’s land, but the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of Bundy’s trespass cattle.

      Link: http://archive.today/nvlzr

      • avatar Clutch says:

        Celeste,

        I was hoping someone was going to bring up what you just did so that I wouldn’t have to locate the articles and do it myself.

        There is a fair share of misinformation on both sides and the claims above that Bundy does not even own a melon farm are case in point.

        So are the accusations that the meat of feral cattle is not fit to eat. In fact, it is lean and delicious and as Bundy himself pointed out, His melons are organic and his beef is what the Whole Foods crowd is clamoring for.

        The BLM was very excited to get Bundy off that allotment when he did not pay the new 10-year permit, when typically that Permit would have remained available to a rancher for quite some time.

        In fact, Bundy had not consistently maintained that permit over the years but it was still available to do so whenever he wanted.

        Bundy and his fellow ranching community did not just develop this mistrust of BLM out of thin air.

        The BLM got themselves a “paradigm” some years back and ranchers and grazing permits and leases and small mining claims were no longer favored in a way they had been throughout the past 100 or more years–since the Mormons moved out there and prior to the Taylor Act.

        Now I do not condone the methods of defiance that Bundy has chosen but Neither do I like to see the group mentality of bashing I see in this thread.

    • avatar gary taylor says:

      “Nice snowy day here in Wyoming”. What happened to “It was a dark and stormy night”.
      Coyote you have an uncanny ability to rambling on and not really say anything substantial.
      Let me see you said of Bundy he is a: 2-dimensional cowboy cut out, like you see outside the bars advertising beer. He’s sure no larger than life Neo-Folk Hero or worth writing a 3 chord rockabilly anthem about…
      Sounds like you got yourself some lines from a really bad country song.
      How about this one “My Name is CodyCoyote And I Write Like I am Smokin Peyote”. Feel free to use it.

    • avatar gary taylor says:

      “Nice snowy day here in Wyoming”. What happened to “It was a dark and stormy night”.
      Coyote you have an uncanny ability to rambling on and not really say anything substantial.
      Let me see you said of Bundy he is a: 2-dimensional cowboy cut out, like you see outside the bars advertising beer. He’s sure no larger than life Neo-Folk Hero or worth writing a 3 chord rockabilly anthem about…
      Sounds like you got yourself some lines from a really bad country song.
      How about this one “My Name is CodyCoyote And I Write Like I am Smokin Peyote”. Feel free to use it.

  2. avatar Howard Thiname says:

    Bundy owns just short of a quarter-section, about 150 acres. I was hoping this would be a good article about how Bundy was in the wrong, but, instead, it’s all over the place – yelling at the Kochs, claiming Bundy is “trespassing” when the lands are clearly “public.” It doesn’t mention that Bundy has cases pending in court and that the Tenth Amendment prohibits the BLM from having policing powers.

    I’ve been looking for good info – but this piece seems to help Bundy’s case more than it hurts it.

    • avatar cobackcountry says:

      I don’t think that is true. The cows are not on state land, they are on federal land. The BLM being a federal branch can enforce federal laws on federal lands. I could be wrong, and am interest din hearing more?

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Folks,

        Nevada is one of the few states that has no system of state lands to support the public schools. All the public land states got a generous grant of state lands at statehood to provide for the schools. The are often called “the state school lands.”

        I think all of the the Western states still have them except Nevada. I don’t know when Nevada sold them, but it seems short sighted. Now some Nevada politicians want American public lands because they were probably short-sighted and greedy.

        • avatar cobackcountry says:

          You wouldn’t guess it by their lack of support for actions to better American lands.

        • avatar Fiona says:

          AZ has put its public lands on the auction bloc, and is in the process of selling off or trying to sell off state parks and monuments. Probably not the only state doing so.

        • avatar 'Tommy' says:

          When NV entered the Union the state was largely unsurveyed. In lieu of receiving sections 2, 16, 32 & 36 in each of the unsurveyed townships they were allowed to select a large acreage. The various homestead laws were also an avenue for individual citizens to acquire title to the vast vacant public domain owned by the US. Over the next several decades NV government officials “cherry picked” water sources, mineral rich areas, and any other real estate that had obvious value. They then sold these lands to finance the operation of their government. Indian reservations and individual “Indian Allotments” were off limits for NV’s selection process. What was left became national forest, wildlife refuges, military reservations, Indian reservations. What is left today is now managed on behalf of the people of the US by the BLM. The State of Nevada, NV counties and NV cities can still acquire federal public land for ‘pennies’ through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act. NV did not get ‘screwed out of ‘their’ land’. They selected the lands they wanted and sold it. Nothing wrong or immoral about that. P.S. the author is wrong about the relationship to the solar plant. Gold Butte (the area of Cliven’s so called ranch) is the site selected to mitigate the impact of the solar facility on the desert tortoise habitat. There is a direct straight line connection between Reid-Chinese solar plant and the Bundy livestock impoundment proposed by BLM. Different real estate parcels, but indisputably interdependent in that completion of the solar facility is conditioned on enhancement of the tortoise habitat n the Gold Butte area. The article is a good one, but just wrong on this particular point.

        • avatar lthornto says:

          Nevada did get their school lands. Instead of every section 16 and 36 from each township (4 million acres), Nevada got to choose 2 million acres, then quickly sold them.

        • avatar UncleFire says:

          The Nevada enabling act granted federal land to the state for schools, public buildings and other things.

          If the state of NV sold them off, that’s their issue.

        • avatar doug r says:

          Nevada constitution: “Third. That the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States; and that lands belonging to citizens of the United States, residing without the said state, shall never be taxed higher than the land belonging to the residents thereof; and that no taxes shall be imposed by said state on lands or property therein belonging to, or which may hereafter be purchased by, the United States, unless otherwise provided by the congress of the United States.”

      • avatar Fiona says:

        Not sure what police power, or enforcement power, BLM has that it can execute. It certainly can enforce through court orders, but it might well use enforcement powers of a law enforcement agency. Same thing, in the end.

    • avatar Sherm Weimer says:

      BLM do have a few law enforcement personnel. Generally they respond to non-violent
      crimes committed on BLM land.

  3. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    Reading more about the Reid Gardner coal plant, it seems that it was truly a blight to the Indian Reservation — sometimes horrible air quality. A search shows many articles about it.

    • avatar Reno Gal says:

      Tons of EIS scoping was done on that tribal solar power plant at Moapa. This is not the Chinese project that the Alex Jones crowd is claiming is connected to Senator Reid. That project was killed back in June 2013. It was more than 200 miles away from Bundy’s fake Mormon ranch land!

      http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/photovoltaic-pv/nevada-solar-factory-canceled.html

      • avatar Reno Gal says:

        And this Moapa solar plant project was endorsed by Senator Reid but is not connected to the “Chinese” as the right wing pundits would lead you to believe. It is going to power LA and will belong to the Moapa Paiute tribe.
        http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/aug/13/moapa-paiutes-poised-construct-first-large-scale-s/

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          We do have a number of people trying to comment (sent to trash) that this whole thing is about Harry Reid and his “Chinese Connection.” It is a theme on right wing sites. This might be because Harry Reid is who they don’t like. Bundy is perhaps a way for them to try to get folks talking about Nevada and from there jumping to Harry Reid. They are both from the same state after all. ;-) The Harry Reid conspiracy folks would really like to find some actual solar development project for the land Bundy has let his cattle roam, but the best they can find is talk of secondary mitigation for the damage solar does to wildlife elsewhere.

          In other words, there has been talk of wildlife improvement projects where Bundy’s cattle are to make up for the wildlife damage at solar sites in other places in Clark County. . . this is their Harry Reid connection. I hate to be defending Reid. I don’t like him so much, but Jesus!

          • avatar Reno Gal says:

            I agree. And I don’t like Harry Reid a lot either but facts are facts and the Alex Jones/Breitbart crew will always ignore them.

            I just laugh when I think about how the actual Chinese solar plant project was shelved in June 2013 and it’s over 200 miles away from Bunkerville.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              Well for now it’s shelved. There will be plenty more of them at other locations, eating up habitat but given free rein and exemption from the ESA and other laws by the gov’t even if the public doesn’t want them.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                And our tax money used to pay for them without our consent. Here in my state we have no choice but to pay for a convicted murderer’s sex change by court order. I don’t want my tax money going for that, but there’s nothing I can do.

  4. avatar Greta says:

    Ralph,

    I don’t mean to imply that the right-wing got it right- not at all. But the cached BLM webpage (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:jlCNhTqjyBMJ:www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/lvfo/blm_programs/more/trespass_cattle/cattle_trespass_impacts.html+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us)says: “Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle.” This suggests to me that there may have been pressure to get the trespass cows off to offset the solar development, not a direct siting on Gold Butte.

    Now, don’t get me wrong: Bundy has no business claiming anything about “his” land and “his” rights. But there might be some small spot of truth (however twisted it ended up) in the motivation for the feds to act now.

    Does anyone have any info or insight on that?

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Greta,

      Mr. Bundy had been in trespass and had lost in the Nevada federal district court and the U. S. Court of appeals before there was any solar power development or mitigation plans. Having spent considerable time in the area myself, I think it would be great as a mitigation area — replace the illegal cattle with wildlife and protect the joshua tree forest from cattle plus have some dispersed recreation development. This is beautiful country except to those who dislike desert mountains and canyons. I think the federal government (BLM) finally acted because Bundy’s two decades of successful obstruction, and ignored orders from the courts, had to end sometime or the BLM would lose its credibility with other ranchers; so would the courts.

      • avatar Greta says:

        Maybe so, Ralph. I just never trust that BLM is acting in solely in good faith.

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          Me neither! Does this man’s continued use over this long period of time give him any special rights, like adverse possession or a prescriptive easement?

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            Ida I posted a link to a reasonable overview of adverse possession. In general its difficult to establish adverse possession of public lands as the public has use of the lands and one of the tenants of adverse possession is that the use of the land by the claimant must be exclusive. But even if that were not the case, another requirement of adverse possession is that the claimant must have been in continuous possession of the land for the duration of the statutory requirement. The commencement of a lawsuit would interrupt that continuity.
            http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/adverse+possession

            • avatar MAD says:

              As a general rule under legal maxims & principles, and property law, an individual cannot obtain public lands held in trust through adverse possession.

      • avatar 'Tommy' says:

        I agree that Bundy’s trespass livestock needed to be removed under any scenario. However, allowing the trespass to linger for 20 years sends the message that it was not a BLM priority. For certain, when Bob Abbey was the NV BLM State Director removing Cliven’s cattle was not a priority. Realty transactions manipulated by his friend, former co-worker, and later business partner (Mike Ford) was the priority for BLM’s actions in Clark County. When Bob Abbey retired from the BLM in NV and officially became Mike Ford’s business partner he (Bob)was no longer in a position to personally influence decisions and set BLM’s real estate action priorities in NV. To correct this situation Reid got Bob Abbey appointed as the BLM national director. After a few years at the LM’s helm and after some challenge to a couple of BLM realty actions in NV there was some finger pointing in Bob’s direction and he retired again(with a higher retirement annuity this time). Neil Kornze, a Reid staffer, was assigned as BLM’s Deputy Director to fill the void of NV oriented influence left by Abbey’s retirement. A series of ‘Acting’ national directors allowed Neil to gain some experience and learn the realty program ropes and rules. Now Kornze is the BLM national director and Reid’s tentacles are once again securely extended into the day to day operations of the BLM in NV. Please be aware that I am not pointing any fingers or eve implying that there is any misbehavior on anyone’s part. Your readers (including even the most novice student of public administration) should decided for themselves if there is anything even remotely suspicious about this unique sequence of ‘coincidences’. That is neither my place nor my intent.

        • avatar Clutch says:

          It is disappointing that no one responds to the threads like yours that suggest the BLM’s hands are not clean.

          Apparently its not just the pro-Bundy bunch that plays fast & loose with facts to support their version.

          Thank you for sharing your experience. I find it helpful as it helps to explain how so many ranchers in NV feel disenfranchised by the BLM.

    • avatar Ken Cole says:

      I found a better site for the web cache of the BLM web page on the impacts of Bundy’s illegal grazing:
      http://archive.is/nvlzr

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Ken,

        Thanks. This is a great link. It is the BLM link that was taken down for some reason, and everyone has been referring to it because they say it proves their points. Now I see where the idea comes from that Bundy was blocking solar with his cows.

        Here is the relevant text: “Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle.”

        This means that interest groups, such as conservation organizations, fear that off-site mitigation for the damage done by solar development will be ruined by the unsupervised trespassing cattle. An example would be the cows eating planting for tortoise, pronghorn, etc. or spring watering developments for birds and wild animals.

        • avatar Zzzeke says:

          The only problem with your concern that Bundy’s cattle might be drinking water meant for wildlife is that Bundy OWNS water rights on that public land, and nobody, including the BLM, has any right to use that water for anything else.

      • avatar Greta says:

        Thanks Ken. Didn’t realize the link was bad. But that’s the same page I was quoting from above, and I think it does lend credence to the idea that there is some tie in with solar. Not the tie-in that the right-wing is alleging, but tortoise mitigation for offsite solar.

    • avatar Fiona says:

      Or–and I don’t know–it may simply be counterproductive to have cattle mucking around the equipment and vehicles and whatever comprises the solar energy project. After all, it’s our land; it’s our energy project; and we did give this guy 15 years’ warning (and will, no doubt, give him a pass on most or all of the fine he knowingly accrued). Sometimes a thing happens and is not a sinister government plot.

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        It isn’t my solar project; whatever infinitesimal portion is mine I’m happy to forfeit. :) I don’t even eat beef, and yet this all seems unsettling to me. I don’t support land-devouring utility-scale solar or wind.

        I do support small farms and ranches, there is nothing more rewarding than something growing and bearing fruit, it’s quite emotional. I hate to see everything go the cold industrial route. Thanks for all the input re land titles – I was curious as to why this all has gone on for so long and if this neglect gave Mr. Bundy any form of title or ownership.

      • avatar Zzzeke says:

        “Our energy project”?

        It belongs to First Solar, a for profit corporation, and it’s being built on OUR public land.

        • avatar Daniel Seagondollar says:

          For those who wish to educate me in regard to Land-Use and EIR/EIS, negative declaration, mitigated Negative declarations please rest you typing fingers. My background as a licensed architect and planning commissioner for the last thirty years has given enough knowledge and understanding in that arena for a comprehensive view of this issue (I was an architect when the tortoise was first designated as threatened in 1990). Here are some real facts. Tortoise (gopherous grassis) is no longer in decline and the BLM is KILLING tortoise in their reserves because the BLM says they don’t have the money to maintain them. This land in question is being used as an offset against land a solar company wishes to develop. In another instance, citing the Ivanpah NV solar plant, the EIR stated that the tortoise habitat in that area supported up to 64 tortoise per acre. That didn’t stop them from plowing hundreds of acres under to develop that power plant. That being said I don’t believe the BLM or the Reid/Obama administration give a skat (that’s tortoise poop)about the desert tortoise. They want to advance their agenda and the livelihood of the Bundy family and their generations of working the land be damned. If the Bundy family were in anyway harming the land they couldn’t have continued to raise cattle for 140 years, the land would have been devoid of foliage for both cattle and tortoise. I see bureaucratic over-reach and abuse in this instance, if any of you believe this kind of muscle flexing federal land grab is acceptable please step up and be the next to surrender your livelihood and career for the sake of the public good. This is just wrong on so many levels.

          • avatar Clutch says:

            And another great post that received no response because it presented the idea Bundy may have some validity in his anger at the BLM.

            Not in the way he chose to manifest that anger, mind you, but the BLM put the squeeze on these ranchers over several decades and that stress can take its toll on a family.

            • avatar cobackcountry says:

              Clutch,

              I had a chance to speak to some Wyoming ranchers today. I saw them in a clinical setting, so I cannot give names.

              What I heard from them was this:

              While one did not agree with all of the actions of the BLM, he expressed that he wished they had approached Bundy with the right policing forces. He further stated that he wanted to be able to support Bundy. Instead, he was left feeling that he now had to defend his lifestyle as a rancher. He also said he didn’t want people to equate ranchers with over zealots who choose to defy the law of this country and then point guns at people who uphold it.

              One rancher told me that he was appalled that the country might think other ranchers who lease land are as dirty as Bundy. He also said it “chapped the cheeks out of his carhardts” to know that he had to pay for his “spread of land” and that he had to pay upwards of 50 dollars a head to rent pasture from his neighbor.

              That same rancher went on to tell me that he felt the BLM lacked direction. He did say that the BLM would send out range techs and biologists to help them figure out how to rotate the cattle to best preserve grazing lands. Those same BLM workers also helped string fencing to preserve grasses, and came back to move them when they had taken root.

              The last rancher said that he felt like Bundy put a stigma on ranchers. His family holds leases, and he knows that they are not a sure thing. He also said he hopes that the government will help assure that land lease ranchers get a fair shake, because many of them believed in being good stewards. He told me about his grandfather showing him how to get water to areas that needed it, and how he and his dad would move herds from laying in streams to water tanks so they wouldn’t erode banks. (I have to say this made me smile, because I know this old timer taught his boys and his daughter the same things”.

              He went on to say that Bundy should have just realize, “the price of gas went up, the price of land went up, and he got a cheap deal for a lot of years. It was time for couple units to go up too.”

              I suggested to each of them (only one had grazing permits, the other two leased land from people with grazing permits) that a collaborative of ranchers, range managers, biologists, and various other experts should create a universal scale by which they assess lands grazed via leases. They should be able to grade the stewardship, and implement a system that put ranchers on report. Good grades equal lower fees. Bad grades equals requirements to get better, and if not met then termination of leases and fines equalling reclamation and restoration costs.

              I was shocked that they all agreed. I was even more shocked that the public land grazer said he thought that wasn’t a bad idea, and it might “give the good guys a shot at a future in ranching.”

              I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know I had not expected the responses I got. I figured these guys would be backing Bundy in a good ole boys fashion. Not so.

              They all 3 pointed out that the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association wasn’t backing Bundy, and even ranchers have to adjust to changing times.

              The only response I got that I expected , erg, sort of- was that if the BLM wasn’t reorganized, they might just decide we ‘caint even fish or hunt on the land they’re saving from cows.”

              • avatar cobackcountry says:

                Oh, they all also said that Bundy and/or his family were making a lot of money if they had 700 cows on the land.

                Ha, one cracked me up when he said “What the hell kind of sense does it make for (him) to own a ranch, and have to lease pasture from neighbors, while some yaewhoo got to run cows on hundreds of thousands of acres for free?”

              • avatar LM says:

                Great idea about the grading system & accountability on stewardship of the range. May I borrow that idea to share around ? BLM needs all the help they can get, but with or without BLM there needs to be some incentive for ranchers to do more range resource management. They should have to take Continuing Ed classes in Range mgmnt or something. Are they really paying $50 / AUM for private land grass ?

              • avatar Clutch says:

                Cobackcountry,

                Thanks very much for such an informative response. Nothing like “boots on the ground” compared to sensationalist news articles. I have spoken with SE WY ranchers over this as well so I enjoyed your own experience.

                In your follow-up post about700 head of cattle making the Bundy’s alot of money. That would likely be true IF Bundy was actually rounding up and selling his cattle, but from the BLM’s own range reports of population increase in the herd doubling in 20 years in very poor forage, and the fact half lacked brands or eartags, it seems more like Bundy just abandoned his herd as a defiant gesture–sort of a middle finger to the BLM.

                Maybe he was selling those that were easy to round up near his pens throughout the years, but was no longer a good or active steward of his cattle.

                I do not know Bundy’s wealth or financial status but I do think the Feds are going to clean him out at this point and the US Patriot Act allows them to take all his assets without a hearing should he be charged with Domestic Terrorism as Harry Reid desires.

                The smartest thing Bundy can do now is have those cowboys helping him to go round up what cattle they can and sell them and then Cliven ought to give those earnings and his deed to the 160-acre propert to one of his kids that wasn’t involved in the stand-off with the feds before the feds take it… But Bundy has not been smart about anything up til now–he has only been reactionary.

                Regards

              • avatar Terri says:

                Excellent Post! This link states the people in NV do not want their state to take over public land. They want to be able to fish and hunt on the land. They fear that the state will sell to corporations and they will end up just removing natural resources.

                http://www.ourpubliclands.org/public-lands-report-nv

            • avatar LM says:

              For a little history on the hard feelings that were created when the Federal Lands were created read Diana Allen books;
              The Romantic & Notorious History of Brown’s Park, and
              Riding The Edge of an Era.
              FYI – Brown’s Park is the leg of the outlaw trail that runs through NW Colorado along the Green River into Utah & Wyoming. The author’s family homesteaded there. Excellent reads.

              • avatar LM says:

                Correction – Diana Allen Kouris

              • avatar cobackcountry says:

                LM,

                Feel free to use the idea. Whatever helps!

                Clutch,

                You are welcome. I am of the opinion that policies are not nearly as critical in changing bad situations as people are. If we take time to listen to one another we are more apt to find commonality.

                I agree that Bundy would have to work a bit to make money. I know he was a practicing minimalist when it comes to the cattle in question.

                Had Bundy made the necessary efforts toward his cattle the lease changes might not have seen so egregious, as he could have made a substantial income despite the changes. Then again, I don’t think the man was logical in many things he did.

                The layers of this incident are not easily separated, although we’d all be better off if they were.

                There is no denying the BLM needs to be improved. I think the thing that bugs me most is the duplicity that some (not all of course) ranchers practice in their criticism. The federal government via the NPS and BLM has really done a unjust job of dealing with bison in the GYE. Their actions, by and large, are done in the interest of ranchers. Those ranchers from those areas that made their way to Bundy’s aid are eating from the hand of the BLM at home, and biting it in Nevada.

                It is all messy.

              • avatar cobackcountry says:

                LM,

                Yes, the rancher said when he had to lease pasture from his neighbor he paid one nearly $50 per couple, and the other $38. He leased some land with more grass and water (I don’t know if it was stream the owners installed tanks) for cows with calves at a higher price.

                He did tell me that he was really careful to keep the cows form over grazing his leased land and small tract of private land, so that he’d have it for many years to come. He also said one of his near by neighbors had grazed his land bare, and had to seek his stock off as a result.

    • avatar Marick payton says:

      Like the original BLM site, the Google archive was removed. However, it is available on another archive site, as given by http://scgnews.com/bundy-ranch-what-youre-not-being-told?utm_source=share-fb

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        We have the copy BLM web page too. I made it into a PDF file and downloaded for safe keeping on my computer. There is a link to it in the story I wrote today. The story is partly about that web page and some of the misconceptions about it.

  5. avatar don says:

    Some my not be aware that Sen. Reid and a NV congressman have introduced bills to establish Gold Butte as a NCA and to designate existing roadless areas as Wilderness. I’ve wondered if there might be a relationship between BLM’s move to finally eradicate the pests and the effort underway to protect Gold Butte. Just a hunch.

    Congressman Horsford’s bill mirrors Senator Reid’s Gold Butte National Conservation Area Act with protections for Gold Butte. It will designate a nearly 350,000-acre National Conservation Area (NCA) with 129,500 acres of wilderness on public lands just south of Mesquite. In addition, 92,000 acres of lands currently being managed as wilderness within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area will be formally designated.”

    http://www.friendsofgoldbutte.org/2013/06/gold-butte-protection-and-economic-development-bill-introduced-in-the-house/

    After a week camping/hiking in Mormon Mountain Wilderness I decided to drop down to Mesquite to get a room – while also catching up on the news, including that on Mr. Bundy. Out of curiosity I drove to the Virgin River just to get sight of what remains of the protesters. A few laggards still remain, a few caring sidearms. With Gold Butte now open to the public, I intend to explore the area for a few days.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Thank you much, Don. It’s the potential for really improving this public land that interests me more than Bundy and his cows. Exploring the area is how I found out about Bundy. The Wildlife News is interested in wildlife on the land, not bands of scraggy cattle on marginal range. With the militas gone, now is the time to explore the area before it gets too hot. I was there two years ago and it got up to 105 in April at Mesquite.

      If we are to save our American public lands, people have to experience them.

  6. avatar Chris Clarke says:

    Always enjoy reading your work, Ralph. A couple of buckets o’ nuance to add:

    – Greta is correct in that the Gold Butte area has been mentioned as a possible source of mitigation land for the Dry Lake SEZ, which itself is not wholly dissimilar to the use of the land as mitigation through grazing permit retirement by the Clark County Multiple Species HCP. It’s hardly surprising that some of the tinfoil hats would seize on that as proof of something dimly understood but obviously nefarious.

    – It’s obviously correct that the Moapa Reservation and the Bunkerville allotment are two different places, and I wholeheartedly agree that the Moapa Paiute desperately need alternatives to the coal plant. But the solar project on that rez has apparently been every bit as devastating for the desert tortoise as has Ivanpah, and green groups haven’t said squat about it. I write more about that here.

    – Despite the disturbing and indeed frightening misrepresentations of truth by the wingnuts, the BLM has contributed to this situation immeasurably not only by failing to evict Bundy’s cattle from public land 15 years ago but by devoting almost their entire resources in Nevada and California over the last five years to paving the desert while clamping down on public comment, input and access. If Bundy’s militia supporters had even an ounce of ethics and smarts, they could easily have made a compelling soundbite argument saying that BLM Nevada evicts Bundy with one hand to protect tortoises and approves Silver State South and Stateline Solar with the other, thus dooming at least 1,000 juvenile tortoises to a grisly death. That the rightwingers didn’t happen on that argument shows a certain lack of intellectual curiosity, because it’s sitting right there.

    Something like this was inevitable given the house of cards that is stakeholder-based destruction-excused-by-mitigation. Who knew the principals would come up with such stupid arguments when there are more persuasive ones close at hand?

    Which isn’t by any means to say Bundy’s cattle aren’t doing immense damage to an crucial landscape, or that they don’t need to be removed. I’m just saying that the BLM has made itself vulnerable to criticisms of hypocrisy and agenda-driven dealing by engaging in, well, hypocrisy and agenda-driven dealing.

  7. avatar Sheri says:

    re: Nevada not having state school lands, I have read that the Nevada Constitution records a condition of statehood which was that the state would not claim the federal land (it was federal land at the point the US acquired it from Mexico in 1848). Perhaps that was agreed to because so much was desert and not considered desirable or productive to support the state?

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Sheri,

      This quote is from the Nevada state constitution.

      “Third. That the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States; ……..” [boldface mine]

      I know that Idaho, Utah, and I think, the other Western States have similar provisions in their state constitutions.

  8. avatar LM says:

    Here’s another link from RW media re: WY land grab if anybody has time to throw this one around.

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/17427-obama-epa-hands-control-over-wyoming-city-to-indian-tribes

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Wow, what a crazy ass bunch of John Birchers! Agenda 21 and the UN. Info on it if folks haven’t heard about it. By the way, belief in things like this is what makes people take up arms.

      http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/agenda-21-the-official-conspiracy-theory-of-the-gop

      From the URL above: “Here are some things that real live American human beings actually believe about a boring UN document called Agenda 21:

        that it is a covert socialist plot to rob America of its freedom
        that it will result in the establishment of an Orwellian one-world government
        that it will do so under the auspices of encouraging “sustainability”
        that “sustainability” should always be placed in scare quotes
        that it will slowly allow the United Nations to exert control over American society

      These are perhaps some of the most hilarious ideas ever conceived about a two-decades old, entirely non-binding framework that was adopted to little fanfare and signed by a Republican president. Nonetheless, a growing number of Tea Party-minded conservatives are claiming that Agenda 21 is a bone fide assault on American liberty. The rumblings have been gathering steam for over a year now, coaxed on by leadership on the far right. Hey-o, Glenn Beck.”

      • avatar LM says:

        It’s definitely entertaining and a little scary, but interesting to try to navigate in that perspective & get to know the enemy, discover the real agenda, and strategize.

        So, what’s the real story behind the boundary dispute issue ?

      • avatar Daniel Seagondollar says:

        “a boring document” so was Karl Marx “communist manifesto”. Come on, do you think UN Agenda 21 was written because they had surplus paper that needed to be used before the end of the budget cycle? It is real, its impact in California’s solidly left-wing super majority legislature has suppressed economic growth in California with the implementation of Carbon tax credits and AB32 regulations. You may believe in the goals of UN Agenda 21 you have that right as a citizen of a “free” country but please don’t trivialize its impact.

    • avatar Yvette says:

      Interesting link, but the concern from non-tribal folks over tribes exerting their sovereignty to protect, assess, restore and assert their legal jurisdiction over their water, land and air is something I’m quite familiar. I’ve never seen a non-tribal entity or concerned citizen get it right, to date. It seems some segements of the population are fearful that we tribes are going take back some of our land.

      The term, “Treatment as State” is misnomer that most tribes dislike since tribal sovereignty trumps state authority and laws. We establish our own laws, but as far as environmental statutes we still have to be in compliance with federal statutes.
      The term in use now is “Treatment in a Similar manner as State” and it’s still referenced as ‘TAS’. TAS is the term in the CWA, under section 106, section 319 (non-point source) and it’s in the CAA. The legal use in CWA differs a bit in sec. 106 from sec. 319. For a tribe to exert their sovereignty to have the CWA 106, 319, and CAA programs the must be approved by EPA under that ‘Treatment as State’ status. There are 4 requirements: 1) the tribe must be federally recognized, 2) Tribe has a governing body carrying out substantial duties and powers; 3)tribe is capable to carry out or manage the program; and 4) tribe has to show its jurisdiction. What is defined as jurisdiction varies between the programs due the language in the specific act. i.e., CWA, section 319 specifically states ‘reservation’ lands, so for tribes in OK that do not have a contiguous land base like most of the reservation tribes then the ‘reservation’ lands are trust land tracts. These trust land tracts have to be proven to the EPA legal teams. It can get hairy as I’ve jumped through those hoops.

      I’m not at all familiar with the CAA, but the jurisdiction has to do with range of how the air particles travel. That is why when a tribe administers this program there may be boundaries that go beyond tribal exterior boundaries. I would nearly bet my house that is the issue with the Wind River Reservation and the city of Riverton, WY. I guarantee that no one is giving land to the Wind River Reservation. Seriously, do these people study history? Do they really think anyone in this country is going to give us NDNs a damned acre?For starters, only the BIA has the authority to add land to ‘trust status’ and that takes years and years.

      There are two different types of TAS status in the CWA. There is a simple programmatic status which simply allows the tribe to operate and run water programs. They are issue permits, developing water quality standards, or setting TMDLs. They are simply monitoring their water. This came about with a revision in the CWA in about 1997 (I havn’t double checked the year) because the TAS had proven to be so onerous to complete that it was literally taking EPA years to determine a tribe’s TAS status. Oh, and just because a tribe has TAS authority over section CWA 106 doesn’t mean they do not have to go through the entire TAS approval process if they want to be approved for CWA 319. Then if the tribe goes for CAA you do the same thing over and again.

      Seriously, these people have nothing to worry about with us tribes getting getting jurisdiction over your cities and towns.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        “They are issue permits, developing water quality standards, or setting TMDLs.”

        Should read: “They DO NOT issue permits…..”

      • avatar LM says:

        Thank you Yvette for this information. Now I can try to educate some of my RW ranching “horsey” friends. Walking a tightrope here sometimes if you know what I mean. Good thing we mostly talk politics with four feet under us.
        LOL !

        • avatar Yvette says:

          Good deal, LM. One thing to reiterate to your friends is that tribes can’t just do whatever they want; we must comply with federal laws and statutes. While a state dept. of env. quality won’t have jurisdiction over our water, one of the federal agencies certainly does. For instance, if we drain or fill a wetland without the ACOE issuing a permit we are in violation just like anyone else would be.

      • avatar Lyn McCormick says:

        OK, Yvette, third time is a charm . . . help me out here. So, basically the Tribe is asking to be treated jurisdictionally as a State under the Federal EPA guidlelines Re: CWA & CAA, but the tangible property boundaries do not change ?

        • avatar Yvette says:

          Let’s start with the CWA. If a tribe wants to administer water protection programs under provisions in the CWA they are required to have approval from EPA. Just as EPA promulgates that legal authority to ensure that a state follows at least the federal regulations, they can also do for a tribe. When a tribe decides it wants to assert authority over their tribal waters then EPA approves then to do so by checking the requirements I mentioned in the previous post. That is called TAS, ‘treatment as state’, or ‘treatment in a similar manner as a state’. This doesn’t change a tribe’s jurisdiction. We do have to prove just exactly where our jurisdiction is asserted, though.

          I can’t say what the issue is with the Wind River Tribe, and Riverton, WY since I’m not involved and am unfamiliar with the issue. And I’m not knowledgeable with the CAA. I do know the language within the act is a little different pertaining to TAS than it is in the CWA. At least, that is what I was told years back.

          What I had to do to get authority to apply for funding to get a CWA section 319, which is the non-point source portion of the CWA, is show we are a federally recognized tribe, which is printed in federal regs, show we are capable of running the program (EPA asks for various things), show our tribe is capable of running programs and managing funds. All of that is easy. The stickler is the jurisdiction. I had to show each and every tract of trust land. It was a whole bunch of back and forth between us and EPA attorneys.

          • avatar Lyn McCormick says:

            Thank you again. This might shed some light on the historical jurisdictional dispute going on over Riverton, et al.

  9. avatar LM says:

    A bit off topic but still about the Desert:

    The Ellen Meloy 2014 Desert Writers Award

    http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=4a23016642ec41e0ee5932b8c&id=7dac042222&e=815f955214

  10. avatar Sheri says:

    Here’s a nice legal article summarizing federal land ownership and disposition since the Constitution was written. . .

    http://www.law.umaryland.edu/marshall/crsreports/crsdocuments/RL34267_12032007.pdf

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Sheri,

      This is a very good link. If more Americans knew these basics, our disputes would be more rational and would not be so difficult to settle.

  11. avatar PHG says:

    I’m all for solar in certain applications, however in regards to the discussion of large scale, utility sized solar plants and their effects on wildlife, I’ve noticed recently these articles have been appearing and are rather disturbing. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/federal-report-details-solar-harm-to-wildlife.html

  12. avatar HoofHugs says:

    Dear Mr. Maughan,

    I am sorry that you decided to interject the Koch brothers, right wing media, Agenda 21, and a defense of Senator Reid into your article.

    First of all, I would never have heard the name Koch had it not been for the time. I do not know much about the science that Senator Reid is so afraid that will persuade people that the science the government endorses, presumably on climate change and the related issue of biological diversity, I am comforted somewhat that there is someone with some wealth and power looking into government policies that have no basis in science.

    I have been the guardian of a wild horse from the Oregon mountains since 2008. I will spare you the long story, but within a few minutes of visiting the BLM’s wild horse and burro web site, I realized that either the BLM did not know the difference between horses and cows or they were setting up the horses and vilifying them. I have studied all four federal land management agencies that also manage wild horses and burros, and have yet to find a scientific fact that would stand up anywhere outside these four agencies.

    It was clear that the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act was being violated as well as NEPA, the Information Quality Act, and other laws that educated American citizens expect to see government officials adhere to. I can think of few jobs where the administration of an agency could get away with so many false statements, pictures that did not represent their captions or the behavioral differences between cattle and horses. Having boarded my mustang friend on a farm half devoted to horses and half to cattle, I routinely walked her through a large cattle pasture next to the one she shares with a group of horses.

    I was astounded and a little bit insulted that we had people in a federal agency that thought if they wrote somethng on the Internet the people would be so uninformed as to believe it. And then there were other things that became harder to believe because there was no change in the government’s behavior despite our best efforts.

    The day before Hurricane Sandy hit, I learned that Senator Reid had allowed Ducks Unlimited to intervene in Wild Horse legislation in my home state. This was similar to his failure to find a way to move the Restore Our American Mustang’s Act forward in 2009-2010. So I began to dig and follow the timeline of events that had occurred to coastal barrier island horses. Decisions made by federal officials that have proved harmful to barrier island horses began to be visible during the Clinton administration, and indeed, are so closely tied to VP Gore and a scientist that helped him get through the alien, invasive pest of plants legislation and get it to apply falsely to two species that co=evolved here in North America as wildlife for 55 million years usingn two international treaties and an EO
    is exactly how the Clinton administration set up our wild horses and burros for eradication through the 1997 Update of the 1979 International Plant Protection Convention that went into force on 10/02/2005. These are the laws of the United States on invasive species—Article 8 (h) UN CBD–to prevent, control, and eradicate alien species drafted into the IPPC. This treaty was signed in October of 2000. In November of 2004, Senator Reid and Senator Conrad Burns added a rider allowing horses to be slaughtered for the first time since the 1971 Act was passed—just in time for the !PPC to come into force.

    I don’t know if there is an Agenda 21, but I know that elected officials used hand-picked scientists to create the appearance that the destruction of the horse and burro were necessary to save the biological diversity of the planet. Large international studies out of the University of Copenhagen and other places have tested a number of hypotheses including those that this group of biologists have used to villify species they claim are places they did not originate.

    As it turns out, during climate extremes of the past, particularly in large glaciations like the last one that was about 20,000 years or so ago, sea levels drop creating land bridges in places that disappear as the planet warms. It turns out that horses, bison, reindeer, mammoth, mastodons, camels, lions, and many other large and mobile mammels have travelled transcontinentally a number of times take seeds and spores of their previous habitat into the next. Most often this is while searching for refugia, and in the case of the horse, the horse found its way back to North America, but some stayed behind to populate Europe and Asia. So the entire claim that species could not arrive at a continent if an ocean separated the continents just does not hold up to macrofossil and mitochondrial DNA evidence taken from sediments at levels that represent periods of geologic time when these species were present in an area.

    I think I would be a little bit more cautious about accusing those with whom you disagree of hysteria about some UN treaty. I stumbled upon the evidence using the language of the alien horse—and the 1993 OTA includes all livestock as well as dogs and cats—so the claims that I, too, once believed were too extreme to possible be true, are supported in reports ordered by Congress and hidden right in front of everyone. When I discovered that the authors of these documents have degrees from Harvard or work at Stanford, I was forced to accept that what I once thought impossible appeared now to be the truth. Why do I believe that the documents represent the policies of the United States—because the language in the documents matches the actions taken against the species listed.

    Clive Bundy may have been a test for the BLM to see whether or not there would be much of a fuss if they removed a rancher who was clearly violating the law—they got their answer. What has made it to television and into blogs are various slivers of a much bigger story, but it is at least for a moment shining the light where the light needs to shine if we are to hope to get some integrity into the management of these federal land management agencies.

    • avatar Yvette says:

      I’ve not followed the wildhorse issues, so I’m putting that out front. I wish nothing but the best protection and outcome for wildhorses and burros. Because of a couple of your comments, I do want to respond.

      “I can think of few jobs where the administration of an agency could get away with so many false statements,”

      Try the BIA. They have stolen billions from every American Indian, and basically got away with it since their accounting was so poorly managed that they couldn’t prove or disprove in court. And bureaucracy? The BIA is buried knee deep in it for the most simple questions.

      “I was astounded and a little bit insulted that we had people in a federal agency that thought if they wrote somethng on the Internet the people would be so uninformed as to believe it.”

      If you are astounded and a bit insulted that people in a federal agency would falsify or slant a message then I welcome you to the world of every American Indian alive today, and that has ever lived and dealt with the United States government. If it’s rough to realize you’re being lied to and misled, try living with a history of genocide, theft, and attempted annihilation. But hey, you’ll survive it. Just hand them a bible and tell them to pray.

      I try to not veer too far from wildlife discussions on this blog, but on occasion some things need a response that provides a different angle of view.

      I do hope you’re successful with protecting wild horses and burros, because more than anything else in the world, I love all animals, and simply want the best habitat for them, and the protection of that habitat. If one wants to protect animals then they must protect habitat, and that means dealing with a community of humans. And people and policy are almost always the biggest part of any problem, but alas, it is a necessary evil.

      • avatar Mark L says:

        Damn Yvette, sometimes you are so honest it makes me wince (good quality though).
        And yes, lots of animals have been thought of as ‘better off on reservations’ over time….whether feral, ‘savage’, cattle/cows, invasive, etc. It does bring it home when it’s your relatives, huh?

        As above, so below.

  13. avatar Bill says:

    Interesting thread. Thanks, Ralph. As you’ll remember, Cliff Gardner, a Ruby Valley, Nev., (Elko County) rancher made claims similar to Bundy’s. Federal judge David Hagen goes to some length to reject Gardner’s claims that the federal government did not own Forest Service land. http://www.leagle.com/decision/19952297903FSupp1394_12104

  14. The U.S. courts have ruled twice that Bundy is breaking the law. It would seem that some federal marshals should be paying a visit to Mr. Bundy and arresting his ass for contempt of court. Organizing an insurection against the United States must be a felony also. Cliven might have a harder time organizing his next insurection while serving time in a federal prison..

    All of those “miltia” members from Idaho and other states should all be arrested for using a firearm while breaking the law. There are photos on some of the news reports showing an Idaho man wearing a bullet proof vest while aiming his assault rifle at the federal employees.
    These nut cases usually have a criminal record and a background check on them might find them violating a probation order or breaking the law because they are felons and have been stripped or their right to carry a weapon. Federal marshals and even the FBI should be looking at the photos of any one carrying an unholstered weapon (including any of the Bundys) and making arrests.

    • avatar Daniel Seagondollar says:

      Yea, King George thought the same way.

    • avatar Daniel Seagondollar says:

      Perhaps you should make yourself more familiar with the laws of the State of Nevada regarding Open-carry gun rights before asserting that these citizens are criminals.

  15. avatar Don says:

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/04/13/is-harry-reid-involved-seven-answers-to-seven-questions-youre-probably-asking-right-now-about-the-nevada-rancher-situation/

    Interesting that someone mentioned Glenn Beck. He actually debunked most of the Bundy mythology. It seems like you lefties would agree with his article.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Thank you, Don. Yes, the article in the Blaze does correct a lot of the misperceptions. Beck, himself didn’t write it.

    • avatar Sam says:

      So you also must agree with the Blaze article, that Bundy is wrong on all levels? Usually Beck takes all this work from other websites and seldom writes their worn, unless its voodoo work. The fact is Bundy is the only remaining rancher in that valley the others said the veg is to spare to make a living, at least honestly that is.

  16. avatar Rebecca says:

    I have been reading both sides of the Cliven Bundy debate. Why is it so important whether a person’s political view is liberal or conservative?

    The fact is that our government acted in a heavy handed manner that should frighten Americans from both ends of the spectrum.

    I am a law abiding citizen; however, the heavy handed actions of our federal government have escalated over the past fifty years. I love my country, but I have learned to fear my government.

    What happened to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people?

    • avatar LM says:

      I agree with you Rebecca. I attended a peaceful rally in Wash. DC for wild horses. We hand delivered a petition to Salazar but we’re met by armed guards on the steps of DOI, told not to take pictures or they would shoot. Very disturbing.

      • avatar wolf moderate says:

        Same thing happened with the WWII vets in DC until the right wing media picked up the story. Why not get the liberal media outlets to pickup stories on feral horses and wolves? Seems like they just don’t care about environmental issues if it doesn’t involve global warming.

  17. avatar Derek says:

    So, please, dispute this entire article. Or ignore it. The choice is yours.
    http://buzzpo.com/breaking-news-harry-reid-behind-bundy-land-grab/

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      I looked at it. It does a good job debunking a lot of the silly conspiracy theories, but it still has to make this about Harry Reid, who is a great devil to those who like Mitch McConnell. We have this disappearing BLM web page. I should put it up. No Derek, this is not about Harry Reid either. It is about land and a man who thinks he can violate the law and the courts and raise and armed insurrection against the government. Now he is calling for a more general rebellion.

      We are used to having conservation interests blamed. I guess it is nice not to be, but they (and me) want this lawbreaker gone for the sake of yours, ours, my public land at the base of the beautiful Virgin Mountains.

      • avatar Clutch says:

        @Ralph:

        “It is about land and a man who thinks he can violate the law and the courts and raise and armed insurrection against the government.”

        I would agree that this is what the argument is about today…however, its not an accurate reflection on the possibly and probably injustices done by the hand of the BLM doctrine since the days Bundy still had his grazing permit.

        I do not support Bundy’s actions. I feel there should be arrests made of certain participants of the armed stand-off. I do not feel “Domestic Terrorism” charges should be brought against anyone in this matter. I also think its important to remember that at some point the militia members quit acting under the instructions of Bundy and his neighbors–Bundy clearly requested any one coming to protest:

        1) not wear camoflouge clothing;
        2) carry only pistols and leave all long guns and assault-style rifles in their vehicles.

        At some point these requests were ignored and two different groups were created. The group that supported Bundy and a separate militia group that was there to defend their (misconstrued?) notion of the Constitution and all their fantasies about the Boston Tea Party and early episodes of Paladin “Have Gun Will travel”.

  18. […] federal confiscation of cattle (belonging to rancher Cliven Bundy) grazing on federal land (illegally, going on 20 years now) has made its way into several news outlets. The usual suspects have  turned this into some […]

  19. avatar Reno Gal says:

    Are you familiar with the story of Raymond Yowell, a Western Shoshone in northeastern Nevada and the BLM?

    I guess he’s not as important as the millionaire rancher with historic Mormon land rights.
    http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/Nevada_Tribal_Leader_81_Sues_BLM_for_30M_126455343.html

    • avatar Yvette says:

      @Reno Gal, Wow! Whether you are Native or non-Native American this should infuriate all of us.

      It’s an entirely different outcome when they deal with with us NDNs, isn’t it? It sure didn’t take the BLM 20 years to seize Yowell’s cattle. There were no long-bearded militias present to take a stand against the federal government property grab from Yowell. LOL, can you imagine the outcome had Natives shown up with the weaponry of the ‘real-tree’ folks that stood fur Bundy? It would have been Wounded Knee all over again. And the right-wingers would have been cheering the bloodshed.

      Under the treaty, the United States formally recognized Western Shoshone rights to some 60 million acres stretching across Nevada, Idaho, Utah and California. But the Supreme Court’s 1979 ruling determined the treaty gave the U.S. government trusteeship over tribal lands, and that it could claim them as “public” or federal lands.

      A related court battle continues over the legality of the Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act of 2004 that directed more than $145 million be awarded to tribe members in exchange for relinquishing any claims to the land – a matter that has divided the estimated 10,000 remaining Western Shoshone people.

      Nothing ever really changes, does it?

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        I’m glad he’s speaking up.

      • avatar LM says:

        I hope that is an actual picture of his cows because if it is, it sure say’s ALOT for how he cares for the land. If the Wild Horse people (of many ethnicities) attempted a standoff it would be the same scenario.

        • avatar Yvette says:

          Exactly, LM! I think that is one of the primary issues at hand. If any one of us that wanted to stand up for any wildlife be it, buffalo, wolves, coyotes, beavers, cougars, or any wild lands and wild places, we would be mowed downed without a second thought. Heck, I think that would happen even if we weren’t armed, locked and loaded.

          Is it my imagination or has the double standard been growing between the way LE treats these armed ‘patriots’ from the rest of us who would peaceably assemble?

          • avatar Clutch says:

            @Yvette,

            Are you saying that you believe LE would kill you when you peaceably assemble unarmed when you use the expression, “mowed down”.

            I must be misunderstanding your meaning because that interpretation would be very similar to the militia stating that LE was going to kill them if they had not brought their own guns.

            People seem to forget that society has authorized LE to carry firearms in their duties to “Serve & Protect” and that they do not just randomly start shooting people. Using that defense, is it now alright to step out of your car with a pistol in hand when pulled over for a traffic violation simply because the officer was armed?

  20. avatar Jake says:

    Only one teensie little problem with your “analysis,” professor: you forgot (conveniently?) to mention that Gold Butte–the subject area–IS and HAS BEEN designated by the BLM as the solar development mitigation area for the Dry Lake solar project.

    One wonders why such a significant fact was not included.

  21. avatar Rebecca says:

    Yvette,

    I take offense to your comment that “the right-wingers would have been cheering the bloodshed.”

    I am a conservative. We believe it is wrong whenever the government takes a heavy handed approach to an issue that could have been handled in a court of law. Yes, we are more likely to stand up to the government with weapons because if you read the Second Amendment carefully, you will see that we as Americans have an obligation to stand up against our government when the government become tyrannical. When the government has snipers aimed at American citizens, it is important that the American public display similar outrage. Conservatives do not want bloodshed because once anyone fires a shot, we all lose. The debate is then shifted from government overreach to right-wing fanatic.

    I agree that sometimes the court are corrupt, and Native Americans have been cheated by the American government since we first began settling the west. The genocide of Native Americans was on the same level as the holocaust, and Native Americans are still discriminated against.

    However, if you are looking for an ally in these situations, the conservative media is your best bet. As conservatives we believe that the government has become a behemoth that tries to control everything in our day to day lives.

    We believe that most government decisions should be made at the local level, i.e. city, county, or state level since the people closest to the problem are best suited to resolve the problem. I am aware that local government can also be corrupt, but most issues are best solved at the local level.

    I am not familiar with the acronym NDS, and I cannot comment on Native American affairs because I am uneducated on the subject. What I can tell you is that if you bring a case of government overreach to conservative media outlets, they will take us your cause because we firmly believe that limited government is the best government.

    I am well aware that there are right wingers who are whack jobs just as there are left wingers who are whack jobs. Let’s be real; the number of whack jobs in both parties is a small percentage of the whole.

    The vast majority of Americas are hard working people who just want the government to stay out of their lives.

    God Bless,
    Becky

    • avatar cobackcountry says:

      Becky,

      I have not seen any right wing media outlets pledging their allegiance to Native Americans. In fact, I am hard pressed to find a rancher who isn’t conservative, and there by of the economic mind set that nobody is owed for the atrocities they have endured at the hands of greedy Americans though out history.

      We can all see why Native Americans might feel short changed. Heck, African Americans came here in shackles and doesn’t get any restitution. I don’t think the majority of republicans support taking ownership of what was done, let alone compensating people for it. They say they are tired of living under the boots of the P.C. crowd.

      Regardless of the sides of the isle taking a position, it doesn’t negate the illegalities of Bundy.

      Yvette,
      May I inquire as to your back ground? My soon to be daughter in law is from the Fort Peck Reservation. I’m always interested in learning more about Native issues and policies.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        Of course. Why don’t you have Ralph provide you my email and I’d be glad to share. I don’t mind sharing some things on the public comments, but I try to stay as close to wildlife conversations as possible on this forum.

        My brother-in-law is a hydrologist and came close to taking a job at Fort Peck, but alas, he didn’t.

        • avatar cobackcountry says:

          Yvette,
          I will do that.

          Hydrologist huh? I took a class or two. It was interesting to understand the inner workings of the industrialization of water.

  22. avatar Lyn McCormick says:

    Well, that’s enough political discourse for me for the day. Thank you ALL for your great comments, a few laughs. Have a great day :)

  23. avatar Daniel Seagondollar says:

    I have scrolled and read this entire article and each reply to the best of my ability. No where did I glean any sense that, as I understand it, the Bundy family has been grazing cattle in this area since the 1880’s. To me that grants a sense of propriety to the family’s claim that they have certain rights to use the land that existed prior to the establishment of any government agency or land management plan. I believe President T.R. was first to introduce public land management for the sake of resource extraction and preservation (reference “THE BIG BURN”.) I am further concerned that the claim that the present of “trespass cattle” endangered Tortoise habitat. If the cattle have been grazing in that region for 130 years any impact would have rendered the region non-viable habitat. Since it has not I conclude that the tortoise and cattle have learned to co-exist (what a nice concept). Further I have read the BLM documents related to mitigation for the solar plant and find that to be the impetus for this BLM debacle. I do believe that Reid has his fingers in this if for no other purpose than to promote his administrations solar power efforts. In the end there is no excuse for BLM rangers to be assaulting unarmed non-violent protestors with tazers and dogs. Bad government is bad government this is an example of what happens when to much power is placed in the hands of unqualified individuals.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Daniel Seagondollar,

      I think the desert tortoise was in decline. It is well known that they don’t get along well with cattle because they eat the same things. This was bad government by the BLM back when Bundy first rejected their permit and went outlaw. They should have rounded up his cattle, let’s say in 1995-6. This land is not needed to build solar power in Nevada. We can see that because it is full “pedal to the metal” for their construction.Nothing has been held up. Harry Reid does not need this land. The solar industry does not need this land. The land would be nice for some off-site mitigation of wildlife damage.

      • avatar Daniel Seagondollar says:

        Recommended reading:

        The Desert Tortoise in Relation to Cattle Grazing (.pdf) – Vernon Bostick, Rangelands, 1990

        The Plight of the Desert Tortoise: A Surrogate for Social Change (.pdf) – Cliff Gardner, gardnerfiles.com

        ‘The more cows, the more tortoises’ – Vin Suprynowicz, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2008

    • avatar cobackcountry says:

      DANIEL,

      The argument that this is a capitalistic move to profit from a solar plant is null. Not only is it misinformation, it lacks the understanding of the processes required to build in an area of a protected species.

      In order to build a plant, there would be hearings, studies, and an EIS that would need to be done. It is not as simple as “the big bad feds want to let Reid build a plant”. The same laws that govern the use for Bundy, apply to everyone else.

      Furthermore, the sense of entitlement due to having been allowed to use the land is tiresome. It is also null. The land use does not predate the Constitution of these United States. Even if his family used it (before it was purchased by the USA from Mexico) they never owned it. Use is not equal to ownership. If occupancy is viewed as ownership, then it belongs to Native Americans, and the tortoise predates the non-native cow.

      Tisk, tisk, the mighty sense of personal entitlement, is indeed the plight of the American People. Nobody OWES Bundy a free ride.

      • avatar cobackcountry says:

        And- it was purchased before he squatted, and before Nevada even became a state. So again, wrong.

      • avatar Daniel Seagondollar says:

        Recommended reading:

        The Desert Tortoise in Relation to Cattle Grazing (.pdf) – Vernon Bostick, Rangelands, 1990

        The Plight of the Desert Tortoise: A Surrogate for Social Change (.pdf) – Cliff Gardner, gardnerfiles.com

        ‘The more cows, the more tortoises’ – Vin Suprynowicz, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2008

      • avatar Clutch says:

        Cobackcountry:

        “In order to build a plant, there would be hearings, studies, and an EIS that would need to be done. It is not as simple as “the big bad feds want to let Reid build a plant”.”

        I would suggest you read up on the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility. They were granted waivers frrom the mandatory EIS study period because they were in a hurry to begin construction to be eligible for a $400,000,000 federal grant and an $800,000,000 guaranteed federal loan. This abbreviated EIS period resulted in a serious miscalculation of the impact the facility would have on the desert tortoise. The report suggested 35-37 tortoises, I recall, and by the completion of Phase I, that number had already climbed to over 1,000.

        The reason? The single study that was performed took place in a drought year and at such times, the tortoise dig deep and lay low, thereby resulting in a very poor population survey.

        So I agree that no one owes Bundy a free ride but his free ride is less than pennies compared to the free ride major projects are given by the BLM and fellers like Reid. Its also a lesson in the dangers of blind faith in the fairness of any gov’t agency.

        As for the timing of Bundy’s issues with the BLM predating Solar Energy, obviously this is correct; however,nthere have been numerous issues over several decades that has pitted special interest groups and influential politicians against small ranchers and used the BLM and EPA And ESA, etc to accomplish their agenda.

        Reid has long been tied to such under-handed practices.

        Sorry I do not have time to go find all my supporting documentation but I am about worn out on this subject ;-)

        Regards

        • avatar Clutch says:

          Ivanpah Solar Plant: When the FEDERAL stewards of the Public Lands are not good stewards of the Public lands.

          “At present, only a Draft Tortoise Translocation Plan is available. The Final plan will apparently come out after the approval of the project.”

          “Deferred Planning: We are concerned about several “deferred plans” that were not analyzed under NEPA/CEQA, but will be done by the applicant after approval. So far we have found these:

          1. Risk Management Plan for Hazardous Waste
          2. Drainage Erosion and Sedimentation Plan
          3. Heliostat Depth Testing Plan for mounting poles in the ground
          4. Special-Status Plant Protection and Monitoring Plan
          5. Special-Status Plant Remedial Action Plan (in case 4 fails)
          6. Seed Collection Plan
          7. Final Desert Tortoise Relocation/Translocation Plan
          8. Final Raven Management Plan
          9. Final Weed Management Plan
          10. Revised Closure, Revegetation and Rehabilitation Plan
          11. Maps of Vegetation Clearing/Mowing
          12. Maps of Rare Plants On-site and Off-site
          13. Identification of Desert tortoise, Nested Species, Rare Plant, and Ephemeral Drainage compensatory mitigation lands
          14. Succulent Inventory for Salvage and Transplant
          15. Gas Pipeline Revegetation and Monitoring Plan
          16. Off-site Drainage Enhancement and Management Plan
          17. Pre-construction Surveys of Vegetation Types to Guide Restoration (p. 84)
          18. Vegetation Restoration Monitoring Plan
          19. Soil Baseline Characterization to guide soil preparation for seed planting
          20. Biological Soil Crust Restoration Plan

          Several of these plans could have impacts to groundwater, yet will apparently be done later, without public review.”

          “Berry and other scientists have said that large-scale projects should first go on disturbed land, like former farms, that have little habitat value, rather than on unspoiled public land.”

          Why the rush?
          “Proposal for an Ivanpah Valley Area of Environmental Concern …. $570,000,000 US Treasury cash grant payable 60 days after project is placed in service.”

          http://www.basinandrangewatch.org/IvanpahUpdate.html

        • avatar cobackcountry says:

          Clutch,

          I think that the current scrutiny of this whole episode would prevent any misdeeds from going unchecked. I would hope…

          I am no fan of Reid. I support solar, but my version of ‘green solar’ is roof top grids, and local grids in lieu of huge developments.

          Regardless, from all that I can find to read, the solar grid in question is going up nearer to the res, a fair distance from the Bundy debacle.

  24. avatar Paul says:

    The author’s own bias is more than palpable in the text and responses, which serves only to dilute the argument & credentials. That aside, I would be interested to know you thoughts on the central point of the video attachment – namely, a page of information on the BLM website which was removed, and then, according to the author, the archive record of its existence was also removed, as it identified Bundy’s ranch as central to the plans to build a solar energy plant. I suppose either they made it all up, or someone is furiously trying to cover their tracks.

    http://scgnews.com/bundy-ranch-what-youre-not-being-told

  25. avatar Jim Hatchett says:

    I have spent a good bit of time in the area under discussion that goes back over 40 years. There is no question that this area is being demolished by cattle grazing as is most of the rest of the western US. I consider myself as a very conservative person so it bothers me that some people make sweeping statements about how conservative people feel about this. Real conservatives see the problem with public land grazing and the local political corruption that seems to go hand in glove with it. Real conservatives find that this sort of fixed game repugnant. As a biologist it is troubling for me to see how agencies that are trusted to look out for the resources that are in the public trust intimidate those employees that don’t reenforce the extractive mindset.

  26. avatar Kevin says:

    According to the US Constitution, the only land that is allowed to be owned by the Federal government is that land needed for “needful BUILDINGS”, post roads, ports, military/armory land use, unless within the “district” which is 10 miles square. Perhaps as a reporter, you should be asking the larger question of what right does the Federal government have for “owning” 84.5% of Nevada and 27% of the entire US when they obviously have NOT satisfied the Constitutional requirements for possessing that land. When you start asking the right questions, you might get more informed answers.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Kevin,

      Your comments are one of a number that say pretty much what you say — the government only has the constitutional authority to own needful buildings, post roads, forts and the District of Columbia (from Article I, section 8). This must come from some ideological website that is uninformed about constitutional law. This answer is for you and all similar comments. It is not the relevant part of the Constitution. The part that gives the government authority is so well know that it is called “The Property Clause“. It is Article IV, section 3. This clause has gone before the courts a number of times, and they have concluded this clause allows the federal government to own and manage large tracts of land over which their authority is immense. See Kleppe vs New Mexico (1976).

      Here is the the property clause. The Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States ….” (Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2).

    • avatar WM says:

      Kevin,

      Ralph is correct. You are not, and unless you are a PhD political science professor or a lawyer, perhaps you will reconsider your position on weight of authority, that is if you are smart enough to recognize it. If you are going quote the Constitution at least read it, and importantly understand it.

  27. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    This is from a wonderful comment by someone named Jm over at the High Country News, which I love. I hope it’s ok to publish it:

    It bears keeping in mind that ranchers and preservationists have far more in common with each other than politicians willing to sell out to energy and other interests. Rights that are dispersed and shared are harder to exploit and use as bargaining chips in Washington by politicians with less commitment to principles than either preservationists or ranchers.

    Not every rancher is a bad guy.

  28. avatar Woody deBris says:

    Thank you. I have found this comment section very calm and informative. Some of the commentaries have been incredibly knowledgeable and versed in the topic.

    I really have nothing to contribute to the discussion. But I want to thank you (because facebook is bonkers crazy right now) and look forward to lurking and listening to the discussion.

    Ok, I would say something. I sure wish that every time there is discussion of selling off public lands that it would go as trust or direct to Native Americans. For the American west in my mind the idea of reestablishment of a matured concept of the Buffalo commons remain appealing. I really don’t support large centralized solar projects and I feel it should be entirely decentralized on every building and home roof. BUT, I would much rather have a solar array then a coal generation plant. I think the local people living and breathing the haze would prefer that as well. So talk about local control! And this impacts national tourism into the region as well. Let’s move to sustainable and let these technologies mature. Bundy’s 1100 herd as we know can be placed elsewhere but is entirely irrelevant to this nations meat demand. I already know that we have enough timber inventory on public land that we don’t necessarily need to log public lands. Can anyone illustrate just how vital grazing on public land is to the nation. If we remove all grazing on public lands can someone get a hamburger?

  29. avatar Clutch says:

    It doesn’t have to be about solar in order for the BLM to have a nefarious agenda:

    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. With the on-going trespass, Clark County inquired as to the rights of Cliven Bundy to be on the allotment. In a July, 2002 memo the LV Field Manager stated that the “BLM agrees with your position, Mr. Bundy has no right to occupy or graze livestock in the Bunkerville grazing allotment. Two court decisions, one in Federal District Court and another in the Circuit Court of Appeals, fully supports our positions.” 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/pdfs/Cattle-grazing-in-Gold-Butte-area-11-29-2010.pdf

  30. avatar LM says:

    I know we’ve beat up this post pretty good but just ONE more question:

    How will the Bundy episode affect the pending Grazing Improvement Act ?

    http://www.popvox.com/bills/us/113/hr657
    beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/657

    • avatar Clutch says:

      Excerpt:

      “Permits only applicants, permittees, and lessees whose interest in grazing livestock is directly affected by a final grazing decision to appeal such decision to an administrative law judge.”

      AND

      “Makes NEPA inapplicable to domestic livestock crossing and trailing authorizations, transfers of grazing preference, and range improvements.”

      Both of these “improvements” appear to weaken the existing Grazing Act?

      http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/657

      • avatar WM says:

        ++How will the Bundy episode affect the pending Grazing Improvement Act ?++

        Excellent question. It has raised visibility of public lands grazing, which may be to some degree why the media spinmasters like Fox News have labeled the government as tyrannical masters.

        This piece of pending legislation would gut and take out most of the backbone of FLMPA as passed in 1976. It would also adversely affect Forest Service as well as BLM grazing allotments. Who needs a 20 year grazing permit, and removal of oversight by NEPA provisions for monitoring range conditions? My answer is somebody who will rape the land, the vegetation and wildlife on it, and degrade water quality, – for personal profit, while federal overseers sit on their hands. That is the message I hope resonates from these long episodes of Bundy misbehaving. But it only will, if it the media perceives it that way and the story is told with some objectivity in the mainstream news channels (not environmental or wildlife blogs).

        I would rather see a grazing improvement act that over 20-40 years gradually phases out and buys up grazing privileges on marginal lands, and maybe even has provisions for the government to objectively value and buy adjacent private lands in valley bottoms and lower elevations so that migratory wildlife has a place to eat in winter.

        Haven’t heard much on how far this devastating legislation has progressed recently except being out of Committee in both houses of Congress (I’m too lazy to check) – and yet it is misnamed “The Grazing IMPROVEMENT Act.” Isn’t that ironic by itself?

        • avatar Jay says:

          The (Over)Grazing (and Elimination of Any Oversight Whatsoever to the Complete Benefit of Public Land Abusers) Improvement Act.

  31. avatar Terri says:

    The people in NV do not want their state to take over federal government land! http://www.ourpubliclands.org/public-lands-report-nv

  32. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Birds Going Up in Smoke at Ivanpah, Relocated Turtles MIA

    Why weren’t the proper studies done beforehand instead of rushing to throw these wind and solar plants up?

    Sometimes I really have to pinch myself and check which political party is circumventing regulation and the environment, and I find it hard to stomach that it is Democrats. It’s like a nightmare. When you’ve got traditional energy threatening the environment, and the alternative also – and then the big smack of climate change, how do we know the birds and wildlife are going to make it with a nebulous arrival of climate change. Killing them now to save them later.

    I’m not against green energy per se – but we’re going about it all wrong. Got to be the biggest in the world, and the best and the fastest – this is not the proper motivation IMO.

    • avatar Jay says:

      Ida, where do you think the energy being produced at these sites goes, some giant battery for storage? I understand why you’d be frustrated, but if you want to criticize, focus that criticism on your fellow American–we are greedy, greedy pigs when it comes to energy use. We constitute 5% of the world’s population, but consume 25% of the energy. If we didn’t demand cheap energy, there wouldn’t be the need for all those energy developments.

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        I agree with you there.

      • avatar Clutch says:

        Well those figures are dynamic and the Asian world has gotten a taste and hunger for our affluent (effluent?) lifestyle–they’ve even got the rapidly rising obesity rates to prove it ;-)

        Americans are no more pigs than any other group, and having spent 10 of the last 16 years overseas I can safely say, Americans are less pigs than many. A quick look to either China or Russia indicates cultures that place zero importance on environmental standards.

        But thats way off topic. ;-)

    • avatar Clutch says:

      Why? Because democrat politicians love being “green” just as much as the folks on this message board–its just that their green is money ;-)

      They took advantage of the American desire for alternative energy, put it on steroids, packaged it, advertised it, we bought it up and they laughed all the way to their offshore bank.

      Ivanpah–between $400,000,000 and $600,000,000 in grant money from our tax dollars. Thats free money that never has to be paid back to the American people. For a technology that is already out of favor because its 66% as efficient as PV in just two years.

      When you are talking about elected officials–there are no good sides–just the same guys wearing two different colored t-shirts.

  33. avatar Mark L says:

    Power is staying in office and being seen in a positive light (jobs, JOBS….JOBS). Even out of office, keeping your friends in office is just as good. Yes, I agree builing solar on rooftops makes more sense, but that yields control to the owner…not gonna happen. Hell, look at broadcasting, internet, etc. Its about being the bottleneck, not avoiding it.

    Off my soapbox now…happy Easter.

  34. avatar Michael says:

    I run cows and farm on private land. I have looked at the Blm land in my own state of new Mexico and often wonder why the federal government needs to be in the real estate business by default. The problem is that the Feds ended up with all of the marginal land because during the homestead days nobody wanted to starve on 640 acres of desert. Therefor the land never got purchased from the government.
    There are almost always some uncontolled acres in private owned ranches, which means somebody did try to homestead 100 years ago and left. Ranchers usually graze this land as if they own it because it is in the middle of a pasture and often the current land owners are so far removed from that adventure they don’t even know they own land in that area.
    My point with saying this is perhaps the marginal desert land is now ready to be sold, since people do still like to own land and some even try to make a living on it. The federal government needs money. So if they sold some Blm land they would reduce some cost by not trying to semi manage land.
    As a land owner I am aware that if I cant pay my bills I have to sell some assets. I just don’t understand why the Feds increase theirs under the same scenario. The only argument to be made is that landowners will not take care of habitatats and the land. This argument holds little water. It is no different than owning a car vs a rental, or renting vs owning a house. Nobody cares about a rental. The best managed wildlife habitat in my state is owned by Ted tuner not the state. He generates income from this land instead of wasting it in bureaucratic red tape like the Feds do.
    Bottom line bundy should be allowed to purchase the land. If he can good for him. If he can’t compete than someone else will and a spending problem for the Feds will start to create private jobs.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Michael,

      You raise an important issue, what to do with BLM lands that are surrounded by private land and have no public access? This is different than blocks of BLM land that do have public access. The latter have often become very valuable to the public because of access to the space for recreation. The surface rights of the former lands could be sold at auction. They sometimes are, I understand. They can also be used in trade to block up other BLM lands. As far as Ted Turner goes, you might be correct. However, you have to be rich to visit these lands. Visiting the BLM and the national forests is free.

      As far as money to manage the public lands goes, it is a drop in the bucket compared to total federal spending. The BLM is notable for being historically underfunded by Congress. That could be changed with no significant addition to the national debt. The BLM is a government agency that returns far more to the U.S. Treasury than it spends because it leases for minerals, and that is why subsurface rights are rarely conveyed if the surface is sold for ranching or whatever.

      It should be noted that the trespass lands Bundy uses are very scenic in the minds of many folks, and they are close to Las Vegas. Some of them are even managed by the National Park Service as part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

    • avatar WM says:

      ++Bottom line bundy should be allowed to purchase the land…..++

      You can’t be serious. What happens when Bundy’s roaming cows step over a newly established private/public line and again become trespassing livestock? Or, continue to eat what little riparian vegetation there is, or shit in the Virgin River or its very minor tributaries. Does it then become the duty of the federal, state or local government to fence them out?

      And, while some of us are still weighing in on the strength and validity of the ESA desert tortoise issue, the “impacts” alleged by cattle on the habitat and the animal still remain. Where is Bundy, for example, going to find the money to buy up thousands of acres of federal land, and how would it be valued these days, independent of its mineral rights? Michael, I would expect any rancher to be looking at the best price, and how can you beat $1.34/mo AUM’s, which are heavily subsidized?

      And, as for a rancher taking better care of land owned rather than rented (well, not exclusively to the point of keeping other folks out), I have seen some pretty beat up, wasted and grown out private agricultural lands with nominal yields. What makes you think a marginal rancher will cut back on the number of cows or how long they stay on a piece of ground when their operation is barely surviving in the first place? Not to say there aren’t good “owners” out there, but there sure as hell are some bad ones, and if they have fences, it’s always easier to ask forgiveness for a bunch of cows that go to the other side to an adjacent owner for a few days munching the stuff that is greener on the other side.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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