Feds retaliate on Bundy Ranch and People of Southern Nevada- attempt to put 2 million acres off limits

By George Miller (originally published on 10-31-14)

A massive, direct federal assault on private property rights

“Federal Register / Vol. 79, No.197 Notice, outlines plans to make the Bundy ranch and most of the rest of Southern Nevada, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs). 90 days from October 10th, 2014 these proposals will become federal law without consent from the Nevada State legislatures or the people of Southern Nevada.”



Back in March, some incredible things happened- things that hadn’t happened in the U.S. in many, many years. An armed standoff actually occurred between the federal government versus landowners and their supporters, over property rights. The federal government, in the form of the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) has been trying to curtail usage or force ranchers off certain lands for decades, under various Presidents, Congresses and bureaucratic administrators. Southern Nevada has been a major target. This only intensified when the Obama Administration came to power and appointed ideologically extreme management. They had lowered the amount of cattle Bundy was allowed to graze, then invented an endangered species crisis for the “desert tortoise,” which was actually thriving, while simultaneously euthanizing some of them.

BLM has gradually squeezed the Clark County ranchers and forced about 60 of them out, leaving only the devout Mormon Cliven Bundy family on their relatively small ranch near Bunkervile. However, they own water and grazing rights to many thousands of acres of federally administered land, which have been in the family nearly a century and a half.

The Bundy family started paying fees to BLM for “managing” the land many years ago when these were imposed. Over the years, the Bundys developed the grazing lands, putting in water supply, fences, buildings and other improvements. As the government became more and more of an impediment and outright hostile, Bundy stopped paying the fees, reasoning that the government was not managing the land to their advantage at all, but instead actively working to put them out of business. Finally, the government told them that the danger to the tortoises meant they would have to stop running cattle on the land. Bundy balked and fought back, lost, but refused to vacate the land. The government says he now owes over a million dollars in back fees.

The Confrontation


The now famous March, 2014 Bundy Ranch “Battle of Bunkerville” confrontation

BLM came in and essentially laid siege to the ranch, grazing lands and actually began to destroy infrastructure, while removing and even killing Bundy cattle. When the Bundy family and friends came out to protest, they were surrounded by armed agents training guns on them, bullied, manhandled, some arrested and taken away. It was at this time the family put out an S.O.S. to friends, supporters and constitutional patriots to help. And help they did-  over a few months, thousands of people came in to help, many armed, most not. At that point it became national news in the patriot community/blogsphere, but not so much in mainstream media.

As militia groups, fervent property rights and Constitutional advocates came in greater numbers, BLM ordered them off and they refused. Finally, the Bundy forces came onto the grazing lands and demanded the cattle back and BLM off the land. It came very close to an armed confrontation, but finally, BLM and apparent accompanying mercenaries backed down, left and returned the surviving cattle.  BLM violated numerous laws in killing cattle, attempting to sell some illegally and destroying much of the Bundy-built infrastructure on the land.  BLM and DOJ claim protestors vioalated various laws in defending their rights. While no shots were fired, it was a very dangerous, unstable situation, based on accounts from friends who were there, written accounts and videos.

There have been numerous threats since, from Senator Harry Reid down to local petty officials. There is even a federal investigation of the Bundy forces, trying to nail them on various charges. Many believe the federal government  would retaliate and in October, it did ….

The Feds strike back


The Feds’ new weapon of choice

On October 10, another shoe dropped. The feds retaliated via bureaucracy. A notice appeared in the Federal Register, which, if not stopped by Congress, would assume the force of law in 90 days and restrict most human uses of the land- in effect taking it away nearly 2 million acres in Southern Nevada from the people.

To quote the Bundy Ranch blog:

“Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) are human restricted management areas. ACECs have been a tool used by the federal government to gain further control of large masses of western lands and the resources.

As proposed, nearly 3 million acres in Southern Nevada will be locked away from the people (ed. note: 1 million acres were already locked up). This includes most uses on the land (recreational, agricultural or otherwise).

Listed below are just a few of the outlined restriction that come with ACECs:

· Closed Roads
· Excluded Trails
· Closed to Camping
· Closed to Recreational Vehicles
· Closed to Motorized Travel
· Closed to Livestock Grazing
· Restricted Human Hiking
· Restricted Horseback Riding
· Exclude Group Recreations
· Closed to Mineral Development
· Closed to Water Access
· Closed to Hunting / Target Shooting”

The applicable section in the October 10 Federal Register appears to be: (Notice of Availability Las Vegas and Pahrump Field Offices Draft Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Nevada)

This page explains the situation and solicits the help of patriots and Congress to prevent this taking:


The Bundys and some other Southern Nevadans solicit your assistance in pressuring legislators in multiple states to act on their behalf and that of property owners and users of public land all over.

Legal issues

We’re not lawyers, but some huge legal issues are fairly obvious. But how they might be interpreted by the administration, courts and modified by Congress is anyone’s guess. Namely:

– Federal right to lock up the land without Congressional approval.

– Federal right to lock up the land without Congressional approval. Over 80% of Nevada land is under de facto federal control.

– Whether this is actually, or should be, state land, under state control, as it mostly is in the Eastern United States.

– Whether previous federal actions or landowners’ rights will be upheld.

– Whether grazing and water rights are “property.” Precedents suggest that they might be and these rights are routinely bought and sold.

– Whether the obligation for back fees can be enforced.

– Compensation for any taking of property rights or diminishement of value due to restrictions imposed.


Related info:

Range war–County Commissioner Says Bundy Supporters …

Bundy v. the BLM: Is It Over? | Citizensjournal.us





George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.


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