Nevada’s Modern Range War


Nevada’s Gold Butte is rich in history.

Three separate American Indian cultures are known to have settled in the area; their petroglyph carvings, etched into the rocky hillsides. Mormons families settled the Bunkerville are in 1877 and Cliven Bundy’s family was a part of that early Nevada settlement.

That was then — this is now…

Bundy, the last remaining rancher in Clark County, is defying the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management as federal agents, including several snipers deployed near the rancher’s home in northeast Nevada. Bundy compares the situation to Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas.

The BLM has also started confiscating his cattle, claiming they’ve exhausted all other options. Agents have so far impounded around 400 of Bundy’s estimated 900 head of cattle.

News reports claim federal officials are considering auctioning the animals to buyers in Utah. However, a BLM spokeswoman says the agency has no plans to ship the impounded cattle off to auction, adding, “in the near future.”

The fight began when Bundy stopped paying the BLM’s grazing fee in 1993, arguing in court filings he had no obligation to pay the agency because his Mormon ancestors, long before the agency’s creation, had worked the land.

“Why should I pay BLM to manage me out of business?” Bundy asked the Las Vegas Review Journal rhetorically. “What I did is I fired the BLM.”

The land was finally declared off-limits for cattle in 1998 and became a designated habitat for the federally protected desert tortoise. That same year, a judge ordered Bundy to remove his cattle, which he refused to do.

“I’m protecting my rights as a rancher, and I’m also protecting the rights of all Clark County residents to access and policing power over this land,” Bundy says.

Yet in August of 2013, the BLM announced plans to kill hundreds of those same threatened desert tortoises it’s been caring for at Desert Tortoise Conservation Center. Federal officials blamed the mass euthanization on a lack of funds.

“It’s the lesser of two evils, but it’s still evil,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Desert Tortoise Recovery Coordinator Roy Averill-Murray told the Washington Post.

The BLM had been funding the conservation and research center with fees paid by those who disturb tortoise habitats. During the housing boom in the early 2000s, the conservation center had plenty of cash, since developers were often fined for disturbing such habitats.

Between August 2012 and the announcement, the BLM had only accumulated $290,000 in federal mitigation fees forced from developers. The Centers operating budget is about a million dollars annually.

The agency quickly back-peddled on its euthanization plan, claiming it would adopt-out some tortoises through the Humane Society, with the rest, if healthy, to be released into the wild. The San Diego Zoo currently manages the center under a 2009 partnership with the Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies.

Meanwhile, Bundy says he owes roughly $300,000 in back fees, but the federal government claims it’s more than that. In addition, the cost of removing the rancher’s cattle from the public land will cost taxpayers roughly $3 million, according to initial estimates.

As tensions mounted, their son, Dave Bundy, while filming agents near a spot designated “First Amendment Area,” was roughed, arrested and held overnight.  Officials cited him for refusing to disperse and resisting arrest.

“It was really just unreal to experience it,” Dave Bundy told Salt Lake City’s FOX13 News. “They believe that they can exercise unlimited authority, unlimited power upon its citizens, upon the citizens of our free America.”

Further violence was narrowly avoided, after a BLM agent tasered Ammon Bundy during a heated confrontation. That confrontation started after BLM agent knocked Cliven Bundy’s sister, Margaret Houston to the ground.

The incident, captured on video, is on YouTube.

Now several ‘Minute Men’ groups have arrived at the ranch. They say they are ready armed confrontation, but insist they will not start the shooting.

Both the BLM and National Park Service released a statement confirming a Bundy’s tasering. The agencies say the incident began when “a BLM truck driven by a non-law enforcement civilian employee assisting with gather operations was struck by a protester on an ATV, and the truck’s exit from the area was blocked by a group of individuals who gathered around the vehicle.”

As the stand-off continues, BLM Acting Deputy Director Neil Kornze, a former advisor to Senator Harry Reid, removed at least three reports from the agency’s website, BLM.gov. One of those documents, entitled “Cattle Trespass Impacts,” claims Bundy’s cows are impacting the building of “utility-scale solar power generation facilities” on “public lands.”

“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,” the document states, “and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle.”

Another BLM report, “Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone (BLM Technical Note 444)” reveals the land in question is within the “Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone and surrounding area” and part of a U.S. Department of Energy program for “Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States” on land “managed” by the agency.

“In 2012, the BLM and the U.S. Department of Energy published the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States,” the report reads. “The Final Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement assessed the impact of utility-scale solar energy development on public lands in the six southwestern states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.”

“The Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments/Record of Decision (ROD) for Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States implemented a comprehensive solar energy program for public lands in those states and incorporated land use allocations and programmatic and SEZ-specific design features into land use plans in the six-state study area.”

Furthermore, Harry Reid’s son, Rory Reid, is the chief representative for Chinese energy giant, ENN Energy Group, which is planning to build a $5-billion solar power and panel manufacturing plant on public land near Laughlin, Nevada.

As  reported by Reuter’s  in August 2012, “Reid has been one of the project’s most prominent advocates, helping recruit the company during a 2011 trip to China and applying his political muscle on behalf of the project in Nevada. His son, a lawyer with a prominent Las Vegas firm that is representing ENN, helped it locate a 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) desert site that it is buying well below appraised value from Clark County, where Rory Reid formerly chaired the county commission.”

Breitbart News Service discredits the Reid connection, calling it ‘myth busting.’

“Despite the obvious partisan gain to be had if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s son Rory (a failed 2010 Nevada gubernatorial candidate) had somehow been involved in a “land grab” affecting the Bundy family ranch operation — the facts just do not pan out as such. Indeed, Rory Reid did in fact have a hand in plans to reclassify federal lands for renewable energy developments. Just northeast of Las Vegas and Nellis Air Force Base, plans were drawn by Reid allies to potentially develop 5,717 acres of land for such use. While it would be fair to claim that such activity was in Bundy’s relative neighborhood, the federal lands once leased by the family were more than 20 miles away, east of Overton, Nevada. Contrasting maps offered by InfoWars and those entered into federal court record prove such a theory to be a stretch.”

And as the stand-off appears to be winding down, many on the ground are fearing that a “Black Flag Operation,” is now taking place. This comes after officials created a “No Fly Zone,” over the area, power to cell-phones towers being temporarily cut, the building of a ‘Forward Operating Base,’ in an adjacent valley and confiscation of personal weapons from Patriots.

Instead of de-escalation — a secretive plan to escalate the situation is in effect. According to the source, the government plans to take back ‘their land,” fulfilling international obligations, demonize any patriotic resistance and create a situation that will also advance the agenda of gun control and confiscation.

According to another source, the BLM wants to proceed with the sale of the cattle already gathered during the roundup but is reportedly willing to share the revenue from the sale with Bundy. Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie has been negotiating with Bundy behind the scenes for months reached a tentative agreement, though Bundy insisted the sheriff come to his ranch to finalize the arrangement face-to-face.

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