Sagebrush Rebels still fighting to take public lands from the public

Meanwhile, the BLM sues rancher rather than remove trespass cattle from the Gold Butte allotment-

Last month it was reported that the BLM cancelled a roundup of trespass cattle on the Gold Butte/Bunkerville Allotment because they perceived a threat from Cliven Bundy who wrote to the company contracted to roundup and remove the trespass cattle saying “Cliven Bundy will do whatever it takes to protect his property and rights and liberty and freedoms and those of, We the People, of Clark County Nevada”.  Bundy’s cattle have been in trespass on the allotment for the last 18 years but the impotent BLM has done nothing to remove them.  Yesterday, the BLM filed a lawsuit  asking that the court block “unauthorized and unlawful grazing of livestock”, something that the BLM already has the authority to do through its grazing regulations.

Bundy, described as a throwback to the Sagebrush Rebellion, thinks of these public lands as his own despite longstanding precedent and law which clearly states that the lands belong to the federal government and that livestock grazing on these lands is a privilege and not a right.

Sagebrush Rebellion style politicians have been active recently in both Utah and Arizona.  Both states’ legislatures passed bills that demanded that federal lands be transferred to the states.  In Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed the legislation,  but, yesterday, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill which would have required expensive and, ultimately, unsuccessful litigation.


  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    A Sagebrush Rebellion resolution passed the Utah State Republican Convention too this spring. However, a survey of those Republicans at the conventions showed that this issue is not much of a motivator for the average Utah Republican activist, but an issue brought in from the top by supporters of oil and coal companies and the small number of Utah ranchers.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole