Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 11 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Feds abruptly end cattle roundup in Nevada

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:01 p.m. HST, Apr 12, 2014

Federal land managers abruptly ended the roundup of cattle on public land in southern Nevada owned by a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority, citing a "serious concern" for the safety of employees and the public.

Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze made the announcement Saturday morning as hundreds of people, including militia members, gathered near the roundup area to protest the removal of hundreds of Cliven Bundy's cattle.

The bureau also will release 100 of the seized cattle under a deal announced after protesters, some of them armed with handguns and rifles, headed for a corral outside Mesquite in an attempt to free all of the seized cattle, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The bureau did not immediately return calls to The Associated Press.

The fight between Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management has widened into a debate about states' rights and federal land-use policy. The bureau revoked Bundy's grazing rights after he stopped paying grazing fees and disregarded federal court orders to remove his animals.

Kornze's announcement came after Bundy repeatedly promised to "do whatever it takes" to protect his property and after a string of raucous confrontations between federal agents and his family members and supporters during the weeklong operation.

"Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concerns about the safety of employees and members of the public," Kornze said in a statement.

Bundy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a statement praising the agency for its willingness to listen to the state's concerns. He earlier criticized the agency for creating "an atmosphere of intimidation" and trying to confine protesters to a fenced-in "First Amendment area" well away from the sprawling roundup area.

"The safety of all individuals involved in this matter has been my highest priority," he said. "Given the circumstances, today's outcome is the best we could have hoped for."

Nevada's congressional delegation urged the protesters to be calm and to leave the area.

"The dispute is over, the BLM is leaving, but emotions and tensions are still near the boiling point, and we desperately need a peaceful conclusion to this conflict," U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said in a statement. "I urge all the people involved to please return to your homes and allow the BLM officers to collect their equipment and depart without interference."

Some 400 cows were gathered during the roundup that began a week ago, short of the BLM's goal of 900 cows that it says have been trespassing on U.S. land without required grazing permits for over 20 years.

Bundy, 67, doesn't recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada. His Mormon family has operated a ranch since the 1870s near the tiny town of Bunkerville and the Utah and Arizona lines.

"Good morning America, good morning world, isn't it a beautiful day in Bunkerville?" Bundy told a cheering crowd after Saturday's announcements were made, according to the Review-Journal.

The crowd protesting Saturday recited the pledge of allegiance, and many offered prayers. Others waved placards reading, "This land is your land," and "We teach our children not to bully. How do we teach our government not to be big bullies?" according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It's the latest skirmish since the 1980s when the Sagebrush Rebellion challenged federal ownership of Nevada rangeland ranchers said was rightfully theirs.

A federal judge in Las Vegas first ordered Bundy to remove his trespassing cattle in 1998. The bureau was implementing two federal court orders last year to remove Bundy's cattle after making repeated efforts to resolve the matter outside court, Kornze said, adding the rancher has not paid grazing fees in 20 years.

"This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public-lands ranchers do every year," Kornze said. "After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially."

 Print   Email   Comment | View 11 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
cojef wrote:
There is side issue which was not brought in this news account and has to do with the desert tortoise, supposedly an endangered species as claimed by the federal environmentalists. Which sheds a different picture on the confrontation, aside by the debt due to grazing on open range without paying fee.
on April 12,2014 | 01:32PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
According to articles in the Las Vegas Sun some of the 300,000 desert tortoises have been euthanized by government agencies because they couldn't take care of them after they were captured in the wild.
on April 12,2014 | 02:09PM
serious wrote:
This is only part of the story--Google it--really interesting. A fellow by the name of Rory Reid wants to develop a 5 Billion dollar solar complex paid by the Chinese and negotiated by his father Harry while on a taxpaid commerce trip to China on that public land. This is not from FOX--it's Associated Press. The Senate Majority leader could not be reached for comment.
on April 12,2014 | 02:00PM
8082062424 wrote:
i read it. funny how there more to a story then this paper prints
on April 12,2014 | 02:20PM
richierich wrote:
Actually it's not funny at all. Its pathetic that the paper is so one sided.
on April 12,2014 | 04:03PM
sluggah wrote:
"Nothing to see here, people, move along. Nothing to see." Barack Obama Or is it "I am not a crook!" from Harry Reid Seems the "party of the people" learned a bit from old Tricky Dick.
on April 12,2014 | 04:42PM
st1d wrote:
without the presence of a "militia" the federal government may well have succeeded in forcing bundy off nevada state land and settled the reids in with their solar avian bar-b-que.
on April 12,2014 | 04:50PM
Skyler wrote:
He's been there since before the BLM - why do they insist on removing his cattle? It's not like tortoises eat scrub grass, anyway.
on April 12,2014 | 06:11PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
When asked for a comment Hanabusa would neither confirm or deny this federal fencing operation. Schatz however didn't think Nevada was one of the 57 states.
on April 12,2014 | 07:12PM
false wrote:
The 12th Article of Faith for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church) reads - We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. What part of his actions indicates that he is obeying and honoring the law as a member of this church?
on April 12,2014 | 07:28PM
HD36 wrote:
Maybe they don't believe in tyrants or dictators.
on April 12,2014 | 08:41PM
Breaking News