Wednesday, April 16, 2014

US land use and ownership disputes: From Shoshone to Bundy

Regardless of what you believe about these disputes, I strongly encourage peaceful resolution! We the People have rights in Article V to amend the Constitution. If indeed the Federal government is the problem as Cliven Bundy and his supporters claim then amendments should be adopted by a national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds (at present 34) of the states and ratified by state ratifying conventions in three-fourths (at present 38) of the states.

Below is a sampling of history to help you put things into context as you make your own decisions about who you support in these disputes.

Source: LA Times

The Western Shoshone ancestral lands ranged from the Snake River Valley in Idaho to Salt Lake Valley in Utah, across most of eastern and central Nevada, and into Death Valley and the Mojave Desert in California.

1946 The Indian Claims Commission determined that Western Shoshone lands had been taken through "gradual encroachment" during settlement of the West. It awarded $27 million to the tribe -- the 1872 value of the 24 million acres.

1985 Tribal members unwilling to relinquish their claim to the land took the case to the Supreme Court, where they lost.

2004 Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act ... gave final approval to paying more than $145 million
... Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
"For years, members of the Western Shoshone tribe have been asking us to pass this legislation," Reid said in a statement. "Today, their efforts and hopes have become a reality ... and now the money can finally be distributed."

Source: U.S. News and World Report

Controversy between the West and the federal government is nothing new. The region has depended on, but resented, Washington involvement in its activities since the first settlers arrived more than 150 years ago. Problems, however, have intensified under Carter...

At the heart of the controversy is the land. The federal government owns more than half the land in the West, 700 million acres ...

"This vast federal holding means we are not our own landlords," says Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm. "We cannot control our own destiny."

Adds Arizona State Senator Anne Lindeman of Phoenix: "Everybody thinks that the Sagebrush Rebellion is just for the benefit of cattlemen. The basic concern is that people here have nothing to say about the large hunks of federally owned and managed lands."

 The spark that ignited the revolt was the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which says that public land must be kept in perpetual trust by the federal government. ...
... "We've been robbed blind for 100 years by mismanagement of federal lands," declares Huey Johnson, director of California's Resources Agency.

Source: University of Texas

Executive Order 12548 -- Grazing Fees
February 14, 1986

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and in order to provide for establishment of appropriate fees for the grazing of domestic livestock on public rangelands, it is ordered as follows:

Section 1. Determination of Fees. The Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior are directed to exercise their authority, to the extent permitted by law under the various statutes they administer, to establish fees for domestic livestock grazing on the public rangelands...

Ronald Reagan
The White House,
February 14, 1986

Source: Washington Post THE FIX blog
...
1989: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the desert tortoise as an endangered species. A year later, its designation was changed to "threatened."

March 1993: The Washington Post publishes a story about the federal government's efforts to protect the desert tortoise in Nevada.
...
April 1995: ... a small bomb went off in the U.S. Forest Service office in Carson City, Nev.
...
1998: A federal judge issues a permanent injunction against Bundy, ordering him to remove his cattle from the federal lands. He lost an appeal to the San Francisco 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He represented himself.

March 2002: Cliff Gardner is sentenced to a month in a Reno halfway house, along with a $5,000 fine and a year of probation. ... more than 50 states' rights protesters were in the courtroom with him.
... "This court has tried to intimidate the citizens of Nevada by attempting to make an example of Cliff Gardner," said Cliven Bundy, a Clark County rancher.

July 2009: The federal government is still fighting with local ranchers. They have signs posted all over the public land, stating that it is off-limits for grazing.
... Bundy says that his family has grazed here since the nineteenth century and that he doesn't recognize the authority of the federal government. He has threatened resistance if anyone enforces the court order to remove his cattle from the wilderness.

April 2012: The BLM plans to round up Bundy's cattle. After several threats, these plans are abandoned. The Center for Biological Diversity files an intent to sue against the BLM for canceling their plans.

May 2012: BLM files a complain in a federal Las Vegas court seeking an injunction against Bundy.

February 2013: After endless complaints from ranchers and hunters, Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval demands the resignation of Kenneth Mayer, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife. One of Mayer's biggest projects was deciding whether to add another Nevada animal to the endangered species list, the sage grouse.
...
August 2013: A court order says Bundy has 45 days to remove his cattle from federal land.

October 2013: A federal district judge court tells Bundy not to "physically interfere with any seizure or impoundment operation."

March 15, 2014: After nearly 20 years, the Bureau of Land Management sends Bundy a letter informing him that they plan to impound his "trespass cattle," which have been roaming on 90 miles of federal land. BLM averages four livestock impoundments a year, usually involving a few dozen animals.

March 27, 2014 The BLM has closed off 322,000 acres of public land, and is preparing to collect Bundy's cattle. ... Bundy also says he has a virtual army of supporters from all over the country ready to protect him.
...
Clark County Commissioner Tom Collinsalso supports Bundy. "The U.S. government has perpetrated a bigger fraud on people over those tortoises than Al Capone did selling swampland in Miami."

April 1, 2014: ... BLM has set up two "First Amendment areas" in nearby Bunkerville.

April 2, 2014: Around 30 protesters line up outside the Livestock auction house to protest the sale of Bundy's cattle.
... Bundy's cousin, Terri Robertson. They've only met a few times, and only at meetings about the federal lands. "He's just in a world of his own. I don't think he's working on all four cylinders," Robertson said. Bundy retorts that his city slicker cousin doesn't know what she is talking about. "My cattle are the kind of cattle people look for at Whole Foods."

April 5, 2014: federal officials and cowboys start rounding up what they think are Cliven Bundy's hundreds of cows. The operation was going to cost $1 million, and reportedly last until May.
...[Bundy said,] "The tortoises eat the cow manure, too. It's filled with protein."

April 6, 2014: Cliven Bundy's 37-year-old son is arrested for "refusing to disperse" and resisting arrest. He was released the following day. ...
The Nevada Cattlemen's Association distances itself from protests over Bundy's cattle. "Nevada Cattlemen's Association does not feel it is in our best interest to interfere in the process of adjudication in this matter."

April 9, 2014: Two of Bundy's family members are injured in a confrontation with federal officials. One of them was Bundy's son, tasered after he kicked a police dog. "I'm almost getting mad enough to swear," Bundy says. "The one thing we're going to do is stay cool and we're gonna fight."

April 10, 2014: A protest camp has formed. There is a sign at the entrance that reads, "MILITA SIGHN IN."
... Jack Faught, Bundy's first cousin, drove his forest green 1929 Chevy truck from Mesquite loaded with water and Gatorade.

"It's not about the cows," he said. "It's about the freedom to make our own choices close to home."
...
One protester, a former Arizona sheriff named Richard Mack, told Fox News about the militia's plans if violence broke out in Bunkerville. "We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting, it's going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers."
...
April 12, 2014: BLM decides not to enforce their court order: "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 concern about the safety of employees and members of the public."

The Bundy son who was tasered said, "We won the battle." He told another outlet, "The people have the power when they unite. The war has just begun."

April 14, 2014: BLM also pledges that this isn't done. A spokesperson for the bureau said this Sunday, "The door isn't closed. We'll figure out how to move forward with this."
...
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tells a local news outlet, "It's not over. We can't have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it's not over."

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