Mark Levin last night gave a superb explanation and history of the Bundy and Bunkerville showdown. For anyone who really wants to understand, do take the time to listen to his explanation of how there is more than one kind of BLM land, and it was the re-classification of this land that started this mess.
In short, Levin calls it an abuse of power and believes the BLM should stop referring to the land as a conservation area and allow Bundy’s cattle to continue grazing on the land just as it has for the last 100 years or so.
He cites the Washington Post as doing a “pretty good outline” of giving the history.
Excerpts from the Washington Post:
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. Near Las Vegas, the Bureau of Land Management designated hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land for strict conservation efforts.
“Among the conservation measures required,” according to the Post’s coverage, “are the elimination of livestock grazing and strict limits on off-road vehicle use in the protected tortoise habitat. Two weeks ago, the managers of the plan completed the task of purchasing grazing privileges from cattle ranchers who formerly used BLM land.”
Many people were not impressed by the new conservation plan. “Cliven Bundy, whose family homesteaded his ranch in 1877 and who accuses the government of a ‘land grab,’ are digging in for a fight and say they will not willingly sell their grazing privileges to create another preserve.” People who use the desert to prospect for minerals and to race motorcycles and jeeps also feel shortchanged. “‘It was shoved down our throat,’ said Mark Trinko, who represents off-road vehicle users on the committee that oversees the plan.”
April 1995: The fight between the Bureau of Land Management and the ranchers who want to use the federal land without fees or oversight is growing more tense, according to a story published in USA Today.