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.
- We need to fight the ESA listing of the Sage Grouse.
- We need to urge the government to at the very least transfer federal land back to the state.
- We need to reform the EAJA.
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.
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