Nevada’s senior Senator, Harry Reid was in Reno, Monday speaking on the future of education and immigration reform in the state. Afterwards, he spoke to Reno’s KRNV News 4’s Samantha Boatman about his take on Cliven Bundy verses the Bureau of Land Management.
“Well, it’s not over.” Reid said. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”
Meanwhile, federal land managers are pledging to pursue efforts to resolve the conflict with Bundy, who has refused to pay grazing fees. The BLM revoked Bundy’s grazing rights after he stopped paying grazing fees and disregarded federal court orders to remove his animals.
BLM spokesman Craig Leff said Sunday, “the door isn’t closed” to resolving the matter involving rancher Bundy “administratively and judicially.”
Bundy told the Blaze that he has “no contract with the United States government,” and the federal government has “no jurisdiction or authority” on his grazing rights, water rights, access rights, ranch improvement rights or anything else that “belongs to ‘we the people’ of Clark County.”
Taking his argument back to 1864, the year Nevada joined the Union, Bundy points out the federal government did control the land as a territory. However, when the territory became a state, the government turned that land over to the sovereign state of Nevada, and so the federal government lacks the power to control it today.
“At the moment of statehood the people of the territory become (the) people of the United States with the Constitution, with equal footing to the original 13 states,” Bundy stated. “They had boundaries allowing them a state line. And that boundary was divided into 17 subdivisions, which were counties. Which I live in one of those counties — Clark County, Nevada.”
“As a citizen of that county, I abide by all the state laws,” he added during the final minutes of the Glenn Beck Radio Program, Monday morning.
The BLM released about 400 head of cattle on Saturday that it had seized from Bundy back to the range only hours after announcing a premature halt to the court-authorized roundup because of safety concerns. The operation, expected to take up to a month, ended after only a week.
Bundy is trying to determine whether the BLM damaged any of his cattle before releasing them says Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who fears some of the calves won’t survive.
“It’s going to take a lot to revive the calves that were nearly dead when they were returned to the Bundy Ranch because they had been separated from their mothers during the roundup,” Fiore writes on her website, “and a few most likely won’t make it.”
Environmentalists accused the federal agency of capitulating to threats of violence from armed Bundy supporters and urged them to pursue action against the rancher.
“The BLM has a sacred duty to manage our public lands in the public interest, to treat all users equally and fairly,” said Rob Mrowka, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, tells CBS News. “Instead it is allowing a freeloading rancher and armed thugs to seize hundreds of thousands of acres of the people’s land as their own fiefdom.”
In April 2012, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the BLM for canceling a planned roundup of Bundy’s cattle at the last minute. The suit ultimately triggered last week’s roundup dates to 1993, when the bureau cited concern for the federally protected desert tortoise in the region.
This is not the first time ranchers have had conflict with the federal government’s increasingly expansive control over government lands.
“The Sagebrush Rebellion during the 1970s and 1980s frequently pitted cattle ranchers against the BLM and environmental activists,” writes Christian Post Op-Ed Contributor Rachel Alexander. “No doubt many of these current land grabs are being done in order to force people out of rural areas and into the cities, as part of Agenda 21’s vague goals of making the earth more “sustainable.”