Takeaways from Bundy Ranch

If you are like me you have probably discussed Cliven Bundy’s ranch standoff with the BLM this last week at least once. The Takeaway The Bundy Ranch situation has highlighted some points many of us have been trying to get people to pay attention to for years. Now we just have to make sure those points are heard through the banter.

  • The dangerous overreach of the Endangered Species Act. 

The original dispute started over a tortoise that got listed as an endangered species.  The BLM decided in order to save the tortoise they needed to restrict grazing on ranchers.  According to several reports Bundy was the only rancher left in his area because of his resistance to reduce grazing. Currently environmentalists want to list the Sage Grouse as an endangered species.  This bird has habitat in 11 different Western states.  What will that do to ranchers and grazing if the bird is listed?  Personally, I believe the Sage Grouse is the spotted owl for ranchers and will no doubt mean certain death to an industry.

  • The obscene amount of the land the federal government “owns” in the West. 

It is NOT appropriate for the feds to “own” 53% of Oregon and 85% of Nevada.  The founding fathers never intended for this to happen and the people in charge can sell that land anytime they want.

  • The power radical environmental groups have over our government. 

The Center for Biological Diversity threatened to sue the BLM if they did not remove Mr. Bundy’s cattle in the last year.  The Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) allows non-profits to sue the federal government and if they are successful in their lawsuit their attorney fees are covered by the taxpayers. However, depending on which party is in charge of the government the radical environmental groups have found an easy way to make money.  They use “Sue and Settle” techniques to receive their funding.  We are not talking a couple thousand dollars we are talking millions of dollars.  It is estimated that between 2000-2010 “12 environmental groups had filed more than 3,300 lawsuits over the previous decade, recovering over $37 million in EAJA funds.”  Continuing Action My hope is the people outraged by the BLM’s actions against the Bundys put their passion towards something positive.

If any part of Cliven Bundy’s situation was upsetting to you, I would suggest that you start advocating for reforms on the federal level on the issues I listed above. This is why elections matter. It matters who you vote for at the Federal, State and County levels.  They all have a say in your freedoms and your livelihoods.

Federal Government dominates land in the West.

Federal Government dominates land in the West.

Related Links: My friends Carin and Larry have done a nice job of summarizing up the story on their blogs.  Please read them both they give awesome insight.

Karen Budd-Falen, a lawyer in Wyoming, has done extensive research on environmental groups abuse of EAJA


Filed under Agriculture, Environmentalists, Politics

27 Responses to Takeaways from Bundy Ranch

  1. steve miller

    enjoyed reading….federal and state lands …an eye opener

  2. Connie Brandau

    Another issue is that the water rights that are held by the livestock owner, for beneficial use by their livestock have a value that is destroyed if you cannot make beneficial use and lose the water right. In Idaho during the Snake River Basin Adjudication the feds tried to claim water rights but didn’t own the livestock that made beneficial use – so the water rights (after millions in legal expenses for the Lawry’s and Nettletons who took it all the way) remained in the name of the livestock owners who own the base property, the livestock and use the grass and graze (referred to as the third estate by the late Wayne Hage).

  3. Thank you for the mention Marie!! Great blog.

  4. Nancy

    Lots of misinformation out there on the news! Couldn’t agree with you more! My family has fought various govt. agencies for three generations including the taking of Santa Rosa Island from Vail &Vickers (I’m a Vickers) by the National Park Service. When the govt decides they want some property they have to pay for it! I haven’t heard that they have paid anybody in Nevada.
    Voting is important too but our system is totally corrupt at the moment. For the facts about 2008 & 2012 elections across the country, go to http://www.stopvoterfraud.info. I spent the last five years of my life on uncovering this scheme going all the way, civil and criminal courts, to the US Supreme Court. This video shows what we found and it is profoundly disturbing.

  5. Pingback: Takeaways from the Bundy Ranch standoff | The Minority Report Blog

  6. Desert Sailor

    As a rancher out of Northern Nevada, I appreciate your article on this topic, but I am not sure I can agree with you on the point of transferring federal lands to the control of the state. There are numerous competing interests that would like unfettered access to public land, such as the mining, oil, and natural gas industries not to mention municipalities seeking water resources. My concern is that should this land be given to the state, it wouldn’t be long before those assets are parceled and sold to the highest bidder. Even if we look at it in a less extreme light, the right to access/lease/develop state controlled land will more than likely go to the economic powerhouses (those in Nevada being the mines, Las Vegas, and the growing natural gas sector). I’m a rancher through and through, but I’m a realist and I understand that the cattle industry doesn’t bring in much revenue to the state coffers. We could try and challenge these entities in court, but that takes resources that many families don’t have. Plus, you have legal precedent working against you (imminent domain). Is the BLM a great entity? No, and yes. It is slow, inefficient, resistant to change and innovation. But it tries to deal with everyone’s interests in a somewhat equal way (though it still surprises me how quickly a thousand mile pipeline can be greenlit while we have to kick and holler to develop wells). It serves as a bastion for the small minority stakeholders against the larger players in the game. That’s just my two cents, but what do you think the system would be like in a state controlled system of land management?

    • oregongreen

      I guess there are 2 scenarios I see.

      It is transferred back to the state and hopefully the right people are elected who believe in managing in the best interest of rancher, foresters and farmers. As an optimist I see this working well. I know in Oregon the BLM controls a section of land that used to be a heavy revenue generator for rural counties because of logging. But when the Clinton’s NW Forest plan went into place logging ceased but the government agreed to pay it for a certain amount of time. That has now expired and schools & public safety are dwindling in these counties. Many lawmakers locally & federally from Oregon want this to change.

      It is sold to private landowners. These landowners pay property taxes and lease out the land for hunting and grazing. As a capitalist I see this as a win win for a lot of parties involved.

      You do raise some good points and agree this is a challenging issue. But something has to change soon or else the American rancher will cease to exist almost as the American Logger has.

    • D P

      I can see what you’re saying however,we are all now aware of the Chinese connection in the Bundy ranch case. The Chinese/Harry Reid case. The 200 man ARMY (BTW why does the BLM need 200 armed thugs? And who is ACTUALLY paying them.) So if the land is going to be managed on a Federal Vs. State level, at the worst I suppose I’d rather see it managed by State people (who are only used to stealing millions) vs the Feds (who are stealing TRILLIONS.)

  7. Grand Mother

    my prediction —– when we can no longer pay our debt to the Chinese, we will— GIVE— them all the federal land in the west as payment in full.

  8. doris lehman

    is it my imagination that those states with the higher percent of land owned by the government also has the higher costs of living? I could really give a rat’s Ass about an extinct grouse. I’m more concerned with the near extinction of people with common sense and morals.

  9. D P

    But, you have to understand, the “Feds” have to “OWN” huge tracts of land for two purposes. 1st, they want West of the Rockies because…check “fallout patterns.” They are scared.. Secondly, as long as the liberal socialist democrats are going to keep raising the debt ceiling and keep borrowing from the Chinese, they need some “collateral” to promise the Chinese lenders. Think on those two remarks for awhile.

  10. Kevin Hubbard

    The idea that this started over the desert tortoise is a sham. The desert tortoise rescue (federally funded) in Las Vegas (also in Clark County) is currently killing them. This was a land grab pushed by Harry (communist) Reid so his Chinese buddies could build a solar farm there.

  11. Thanks for your speaking up and sharing!

  12. Thank you and wholeheartedly agree!!

  13. The two biggest threats to Sage Grouse are wildfires and predators. The BLM has done NOTHING to address and/or ameliorate these issues. Instead, they want to put the burden on ranchers to remove cattle and create Sage Grouse habitat. Not only unfair, but deceitful on the part of our government. The EA doesn’t address the real concerns and problems. If you don’t believe me, just read it!

  14. Jay Monroe

    The most upsetting things about the Cliven Bundy situation is that he’s a complete racist but everyone from you on up to FOX news has been treating him like a hero! At least FOX news distanced themselves after he was caught saying ‘the Negro’ was better off picking cotton as a slave. Yet your post praising Cliven Bundy still stands without any attempt to distance yourself from these deplorable views.

    But since you’ve chosen to taken on the mantle of ‘states rights’ to criticize ‘overreaching federal government,’ (but not GMO’s right? the feds have that one managed perfectly of course) its worth it to remember that ‘states rights’ was the rallying cry of the southern slave holders against ‘northern aggression.’ So, are you really all that surprised a frothing anti-federal zealot like Bundy is also an actual racist, or are you just surprised he would say out loud what far too many anti-federal government wingnuts probably still think?

    And if you are so concerned about too much federal land ownership, why are you singing the praises of the latest right wing nutjob celebrity instead of arguing that the US govt. should finally honor its broken treaties with various indigenous tribes in the west who much of that land was stolen from? Under what jurisdiction did the federal government starting handing out railroad land grants, homesteads, back in the 1870s?

    • oregongreen

      I don’t think my post was praising Mr. Bundy. If I was praising anything it was the attention it was bringing to issues that plague a majority of ranchers in the West.

      As for state’s rights vs federal there are certain situations where the feds can handle it better such as our food supply and food safety standards and situations he states can handle better like land-use and environmental regulations. However ideally it would be nice if the federal government and state governments could coordinate together on how to go about it all.

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