Center for Biological Diversity seeks to dismiss Cliven Bundy suit over federal land

Flanked by supporters, rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at a protest camp near Bunkerville, Nevada, on Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

The Oregonian/OregonLive

The Center for Biological Diversity is asking a judge in Nevada to dismiss Cliven Bundy’s latest lawsuit seeking state control of federal land, arguing his claims lack merit and have been rejected numerous times already.

“If federal public lands in Nevada lose their current legal protections, as Bundy’s suit requests, public access and enjoyment of these lands could be replaced with oil and gas, mining, logging, grazing and destructive recreational uses,” attorney Christopher W. Mixson wrote in the center’s motion.

The center on Thursday filed a request to dismiss Bundy’s lawsuit and a motion to intervene in the case in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas. The center is a nonprofit environmental organization that cites protecting endangered species and their habitats as its mission.

The center called Bundy’s arguments nothing more than his “rehashing of fringe legal theories” that have been repeatedly rejected in court and an effort to “legitimize” the illegal grazing of his cattle on federal land.

Cliven Bundy and two of his sons, Ryan Bundy and Ammon Bundy, were indicted on conspiracy and other allegations in 2016, accused of rallying militia members and armed supporters to stop federal officers from carrying out a court order and impounding Bundy’s cattle near Bunkerville, Nevada, two years earlier. The outnumbered federal contingent retreated and halted the cattle roundup on April 12, 2014.

Cliven Bundy has argued for years that other ranchers who pay federal grazing fees are giving their money to the wrong government. He owes more than $1 million in grazing fees and penalties that he has refused to pay for two decades after federal authorities moved to limit his cattle’s access to public land to safeguard the endangered desert tortoise.

U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro early this year dismissed the prosecution, citing “flagrant misconduct” by prosecutors and the FBI in not disclosing evidence before and during the trial.

The senior Bundy still faces a 2013 order to move his trespassing cattle or not interfere with future attempts to impound them.

On the same day of his federal criminal trial’s opening statements in Las Vegas on Nov. 14, 2017, Cliven Bundy filed a civil motion to vacate the order enforcing the cattle grazing injunction against him. Federal lawyers responded that the motion has no merit. In July, Nevada’s U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks denied Bundy’s motion to vacate the order.

Since his release from jail in January, Cliven Bundy has pledged to continue raising cattle, challenging federal authority over the land where his herd grazes and battling federal protections for the rugged mountains and sandstone surrounding his 160-acre ranch.

“Given the unusual nature of this case, in which Bundy seeks to upset the apple cart of Nevada land tenure, the center seeks to protect the status quo and, by doing so, protect its own substantial interests in preserving Nevada’s unique federal public lands,” the center’s motion says.

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Posted in BLM, Bundy Ranch, Center for Biological Diversity, Cliven Bundy, Land, Larry Klayman, Nevada, News, The Oregonian.

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