From the LVRJ: Safety concerns for people involved with rounding up hundreds of renegade cattle belonging to Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy prompted the Bureau of Land Management to suspend indefinitely its plan to impound the herd, the local BLM manager said Wednesday.
"Our goal has always been to get these cattle off public lands in a safe way," said Mary Jo Rugwell, manager of the BLM's Southern Nevada District Office.
She said the BLM's Washington, D.C., office, headed by the bureau's former Nevada state director, Bob Abbey, made the decision to postpone this week's roundup to pursue legal proceedings in federal court.
"The bottom line was that because our goal was to do it safely, the BLM decision was made that we need to try the legal avenue again," Rugwell said, noting that "for many years there have been concerns how a gather operation would be received."
Rugwell said her staff has had discussions recently with Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie and Las Vegas police. "We asked for support in making sure everything was safe," she said.
Bundy, 65, said Wednesday that he doesn't perceive himself as a danger to the BLM because he has remained peaceful for 20 years during his feud over grazing cattle in the Gold Butte area.
"I sort of think they're overreacting in one sense, and in the other sense I don't know what indefinitely means," Bundy said by phone in response to Rugwell's comments about suspending the roundup.
"I'm damn tired of their harassment, their unconstitutional jurisdiction. I've fought this battle on paper, in the courts and in the media."
The BLM canceled Bundy's grazing permit for the Bunkerville allotment in 1994, but he continued to graze hundreds of hybrid cattle adapted for harsh desert conditions on the much larger Gold Butte range, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
Bundy estimates he runs 500 adult cattle on 120 square miles, or 76,800 acres.
His permit for the Bunkerville allotment before it was canceled in 1994 allowed him to run about 150 cattle.
Rugwell said the Gold Butte area is roughly 500,000 acres. Her staff counted more than 500 cattle there in March 2011, about 730 in August, and 750 in early April.
The legal action the BLM is contemplating will cover all areas where Bundy's cattle roam, not just the previous Bunkerville allotment that was subject to the 1998 federal court injunction, Rugwell said.
She said the BLM is concerned about resource damage in the area.
"In my mind, the most important issue with respect with trespass is the fact trespass is unfair to other users, like recreationists. They pay fees and follow rules. In my mind it's a fairness issue," she said.
I have 2 opinions on this story. First, the BLM is trying to bully a rancher and his family who has been using the same land since 1877. They have made improvements on the land and the family also has invested in a lot of equipment on the land. Bundy is the last known rancher in Clark County.
On the other hand, Bundy has been using the land without paying for it and they are grazing for free. they have tried to pay Clark County to graze and refuses to do anything with the BLM. Clark County used to own the land before selling it to the BLM. Clearly, Bundy has a major problem with the U.S. government and refuses to listen to the pin heads in Washington D.C..
So, I think both sides are wrong. The Bundys have been using the land for 135 years and they have some rights, especially since the Bundys have improved the land and have a lot of equipment and cows on the land.
Meanwhile, Bundy has been using the land for free and that is also wrong.
I am pretty sure the pin heads in Washington and Bundy can work out an deal.
In the meantime, Whooooa, Bundy.