Is the Cliven Bundy issue really a "land grab" conducted by Harry Reid and the federal government?
Saturday federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management backed down from an armed stand-off with citizens protesting the BLM's round-up of Cliven Bundy's cattle on Gold Butte in Nevada. The conflict between Cliven Bundy and the BLM has been stewing for years and came to a head last week when federal agents and contractors appeared to round up the Bundy cattle.
Bundy is claiming that his family has "preemptive" rights to let their cattle graze on the land, which is owned by the federal government through the BLM. This doesn't appear to be a legal right that would hold up in court, according to The Blaze. In fact, his claims did not hold up in court last year, resulting in the court order for Bundy to remove his cattle from Gold Butte.
So then why were citizens from all over the nation willing to show up to an armed protest?
The real issue is that people hate the Bureau of Land Management, especially westerners who have to deal with them frequently. BLM owns 84% of Nevada and its reach extends into every western state. When the BLM was created, cattle ranchers in Nevada were told that the BLM would help them and look out for their interests, but they are a federal agency who looks out for federal interests, and they are influenced by corrupt politicians like Harry Reid.
For instance, the BLM's beef with Cliven Bundy is supposedly over the endangered desert tortoise. In 1993, the number of cattle allowed to graze at Gold Butte was significantly reduced. The federal government offered to buy back ranchers' grazing licences, but Cliven Bundy refused to sell. Then in 1998 the BLM closed Gold Butte to cattle grazing and revoked all licences - meaning, they revoked Cliven Bundy's grazing licence. Thus the court order for Bundy to remove his cattle and the BLM's round-up this past week, which was only stopped for "safety concerns."
But, if the BLM wants to protect the desert tortoise, then why did they euthanize hundreds of them months before the court order against Bundy? In Las Vegas, the BLM closed the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, resulting in the euthanization hundreds of tortoises that were "not suitable for release, either infected with disease or otherwise too feeble to survive."
Even some environmental groups don't believe that the BLM is really looking out for the desert tortoise, and are suing the BLM for failing to track human impact on the desert tortoise and other endangered species.
"A tortoise isn't the reason why BLM is harassing a 67 year-old rancher; they want his land," journalist Dana Loesch wrote. "The tortoise wasn't of concern when [U.S. Senator] Harry Reid worked with BLM to literally change the boundaries of the tortoise's habitat to accommodate the development of his top donor, Harvey Whittemore."
Now it is coming out that Harry Reid is also connected to the Gold Butte land. The BLM had listed the solar panel project as one of the many reasons they needed Bundy's cattle off the land, but they have since taken that information off of their website, according to InfoWars.
"[Reid] and his oldest son, Rory, are both involved in an effort by a Chinese energy giant, ENN Energy Group, to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel manufacturing plant in the southern Nevada desert," journalist Marcus Stern wrote for Reuters. "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."
Harry Reid was involved in a 2010 scandal where Reid profited from land sold in Las Vegas even though he no longer owned the property at the time of sale. Years before that, the senator used the BLM to benefit Harvey Whittemore, who had donated $45,000 to him and his PACs.
Add to this the fact that the federal government owns the West, and you can see why protesters are suspicious of the federal government, the BLM, and Harry Reid.
It may be that Cliven Bundy has no legal right to use the Gold Butte public land for his grazing cattle, as his family has done for 140 years. But when the federal government owns over 84% of your state and has the power to rezone and site environmental protection laws, ranchers' lack of rights is exactly the issue.