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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rancher Bundy files for appeal in land dispute

Cliven Bundy has filed an appeal in an attempt to stave off the seizure of his cattle by the Bureau of 

Land Management, which is scheduled for Aug. 23 based on an order issued by Nevada District Judge 

Lloyd D. George on July 9. The appeal is the latest in a nearly two-decades-old battle between the 

rancher and federal government regarding grazing rights.

The ruling is actually an extension of the original 1998 action in which Bundy was "permanently 

enjoined from grazing his livestock within a different area, the Bunkerville Allotment, and ordered 

Bundy to remove his livestock from the Allotment before November 30, 1998."

Also, in May 2012, another complaint was filed in which Bundy was allegedly found to be grazing his 

livestock without authorization on land owned by the United States, administered by the secretary of 

the Interior, BLM and the National Parks Service. The action included more area because Bundy's 

animals allegedly had drifted even further into an area that includes some of the Gold Butte around 

Lake Mead National Recreation area and the Overton Arm, otherwise known as "New Trespass land," 

according to court papers.

Allegations also include Bundy's livestock "cause damage to natural and cultural resources and pose a 

threat to public safety." The threat to the endangered desert tortoise that resides in Gold Butte and other 

areas is part of the "damage," according to documents.

"I am not done fighting by any means," Bundy said.

If his appeal is not accepted, or a stay isn't granted, Bundy said he will just "keep on ranching, like I've 

always done."

The Bundy Ranch, he said, extends north to south from the Lincoln County line -- or the Mormon 

Mountains -- to the Gold Butte area known as Whitney Pockets and from east to west from Bunkerville 

to Lake Mead, he said.

His argument is that he grazes his cattle on Nevada and Clark County land in accordance to Nevada 

law, and that the federal government has no jurisdiction overRancher Bundy files for appeal in land 

dispute the state lands.

"Are we a state or a territory in the United States?"

George's ruling is that "the public lands in Nevada are the property of the United States because the 

United States has held title to those public lands since 1848, when Mexico ceded the land to the United 

States," according to court documents.

"I can't believe a federal judge wouldn't recognize the sovereign right of the state of Nevada," he said.

"The pilgrims came her seeking liberty and happiness ... and when the Constitution was written it 

mandated only 10-square miles to the United States," the rest is public land, he said. "They did that for 

a reason. They wanted to prevent the government from having too much power."

George did not consider that concept in his ruling, Bundy said.

"I will hold George accountable for this," he said.

In his newest appeal, Bundy writes that the designation of the desert tortoise is a "fraud," that the 

tortoise has never been proven to be an endangered species according to the Endangered Species Act of 

1973 and that state sovereignty is not upheld with the current ruling.

But the problem is also in that "the cattle have drifted further because there is no fence maintained," he 

said. "That's the whole problem. They haven't maintained a fence, and they expect me to shoulder the 

expense to get them (off the land)."

The BLM is supposed to have a fence, he said, and maintain it to prevent drifting, whether it be his 

animals or someone else's, he said.

Hillerie Patton, BLM public affairs officer, would not comment on the situation because the case is 


Bundy emphasized that the battle is not just his, but that of anyone who wants access to those lands.

"I want to be able to keep the public access, keep my vested water and grazing rights and keep the 

economic value of the land," he said.

An example of federal intervention would be the Echo Bay area of Lake Mead, he said.

"I went there, and everything is closed or locked up," he said. "There are animal tracks but not a single 

human track. You can't buy gas or even a hamburger. That's what happens when the federal 

government gets involved, everything gets shut down and no one can use it."

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