BILLINGS, Mont. — A year of upheaval at the U.S. Interior Department has seen dozens of senior staff members reassigned and key leadership positions left unfilled, rules considered burdensome to industry shelved, and a sweeping reorganization proposed for its 70,000 employees.
The evolving status quo at the agency responsible for more than 780,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) of public lands, mostly in the American West, has led to praise from energy and mining companies and Republicans, who welcomed the departure from perceived heavy-handed regulation under President Barack Obama.
But the changes have drawn increasingly sharp criticism from conservationists, Democrats, and some agency employees. Under President Donald Trump, the critics say, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has curbed outside input into how the land is used and elevated corporate interests above the duty to safeguard treasured sites.
The differing views illustrate longstanding tensions over the role of America’s public lands — an amalgam of pristine wilderness, recreational playgrounds, and abundant energy reserves.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal judge offered to release a rancher and states’ rights figure from custody during his trial on charges involving an armed standoff that stopped a government cattle roundup three years ago in Nevada.
But Cliven Bundy refused to leave jail while others are still behind bars awaiting trial in the case.
Bundy, 71, didn’t state his reason in court Wednesday. But his wife, Carol Bundy, noted in a courthouse hallway that two other sons, Mel and David Bundy, are approaching two years in federal detention.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal judge has agreed to postpone the trial of Nevada cattleman Cliven Bundy and others in a 2014 armed standoff because of the Las Vegas mass shooting.
Defense attorneys argued that the attack would cast a shadow over the trial, which was set to start Tuesday in Las Vegas. On Friday, the judge rescheduled it for Oct. 30.
Bundy, two sons and others are accused of conspiring to enlist a self-styled militia to prevent U.S. Bureau of Land Management agents and civilian employees from removing Bundy’s cattle from federal land in Nevada.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal agent who had been scrutinized for his handling of rare evidence as well as behavior at the counterculture Burning Man festival is no longer an employee of the Bureau of Land Management, authorities said Friday.
Daniel Love, who played a command role in federal agents’ 2014 standoff with Nevada rancher and states’ rights figure Cliven Bundy, no longer works for the agency, spokeswoman Megan Crandall told the Associated Press.
She did not answer questions about the timing or circumstances of his departure, citing federal privacy laws.
A lawyer for Love, Lisa Kleine, did not immediately return messages seeking comment. There was no answer at a publicly listed phone number for him.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — An October date was set on Thursday for the trial of Nevada cattleman and state’s rights figure Cliven Bundy and six other defendants in an armed standoff that stopped government agents from rounding up Bundy cattle near Bunkerville in 2014.
Jury selection will start Oct. 10 in Las Vegas for Bundy, two of his sons and four other men, Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro decided. The trial will include two defendants who were released to home detention after their recent retrial ended with no verdicts on assault on a federal officer and related firearm charges, but acquittal on other charges.
One Bundy son, Ammon Bundy, refused to be brought to court for the hearing from federal custody. His lawyer, Daniel Hill, said his client objects to being strip-searched when he is transported.
Another Bundy son, Ryan Bundy, serving as his own lawyer, told the judge that he deserved to be released after spending more than 18 months in federal custody and that his right to a speedy trial has been “violated terribly.”
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Bureau of Land Management agent who has been scrutinized for past behavior took valuable stones held as evidence and handed them out “like candy” to colleagues and a contractor, federal investigators said in a report made public Thursday.
Daniel Love played a command role in an April 2014 standoff involving backers of Nevada rancher and states’ rights figure Cliven Bundy. It pitted weapon-toting Bundy supporters against heavily armed BLM agents who, in the end, gave up efforts to collect Bundy cattle for nonpayment of grazing fees.
Love was previously faulted for using his influence to get tickets to a sold-out Burning Man counterculture festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert that he was helping oversee security for and manipulating a job search for a friend.
U.S. Department of Interior investigators also found Love told an employee to delete some emails that contained bureau information requested by then-U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Though the report does not name Love, Chaffetz confirmed Thursday that his request had been directed to Love. Chaffetz did not specify the nature of the request.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal jury in Las Vegas refused Tuesday to convict four defendants who were retried on accusations that they threatened and assaulted federal agents by wielding assault weapons in a 2014 confrontation to stop a cattle roundup near the Nevada ranch of states’ rights figure Cliven Bundy.
In a stunning setback to federal prosecutors planning to try the Bundy family patriarch and two adult sons later this year, the jury acquitted Ricky Lovelien and Steven Stewart of all 10 charges, and delivered not-guilty findings on most charges against Scott Drexler and Eric Parker.
More than 30 defendants’ supporters in the courtroom broke into applause after Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ordered Lovelien and Stewart freed immediately and set Wednesday morning hearings to decide if Parker and Drexler should remain jailed pending a government decision whether to seek a third trial.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — In a dramatic end to a contentious trial, defense attorneys declined Tuesday to make closing arguments on behalf of four men accused of wielding assault weapons against federal agents in a 2014 standoff near Nevada anti-government figure Cliven Bundy’s ranch.
The move left defendants Eric Parker, Steven Stewart and Ricky Lovelien of Montana and Oklahoma essentially mute in answer to 10 felony charges including conspiracy, weapon possession and assault on a federal officer.
Defendant Scott Drexler of Idaho testified in his defense on Monday.
Parker testified last week, but Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ordered him off the witness stand and struck his testimony from the record for what she said was a deliberate failure to keep his testimony within bounds of rules she set to keep the focus on what the defendants saw and did during the confrontation, not what they felt or why they acted.
Restrictions placed by a federal judge on what defendants can say about being at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in April 2014 are leading to tense moments in the Las Vegas retrial of four men accused of wielding assault-style weapons to stop federal agents from rounding up cattle belonging to the anti-government figure.
Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro refused Monday to order a mistrial sought by the defense attorney for Eric Parker, a defendant who Navarro ordered off the witness stand last week before telling the jury to disregard his testimony.
Such a dramatic step involving a defendant in the presence of a jury is unusual and might draw scrutiny from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, said Robert Draskovich, a Las Vegas lawyer who said he had never heard of such a move in more than two decades practicing in federal courts. Draskovich is not involved in the Bundy case.
Bullying, as many people know, can be a tremendously painful experience for a young person. The point has been driven home over the last decade by stories about teens like Phoebe Prince or Amanda Todd, who killed themselves after experiencing bullying.
Recently, the parents of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye filed a federal lawsuit against the Cincinnati public schools, alleging that their son committed suicide because the school covered up and failed to prevent a culture of bullying.
All 50 states have some kind of antibullying law, and schools are increasingly being called upon to implement bullying prevention programs.
Bullying and suicide are both significant public health concerns for children and adolescents. As a scholar with expertise in youth violence and bullying, I’ve done considerable research to understand the link between bullying and suicide. Although there certainly is a connection between the two, research highlights the complexity of the relationship.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was expected to make a stop Sunday in the hometown of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher accused of organizing an armed standoff three years ago that forced federal agents to end a roundup of his cattle.
Zinke’s planned stop in Bunkerville, Nevada — about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas — is part of his tour of national monuments being scrutinized by the Trump administration.
Trump announced the review of 27 monuments in May, saying the designations imposed by previous presidents amounted to a massive federal land grab. Monument designations protect federal land from energy development and other activities.
Zinke plans the stop in Bunkerville ahead of visits Monday to the nearby Gold Butte and Basin and Range national monuments, which cover a combined 1,500 square miles (3,885 sq. kilometers) — more than twice the size of Delaware.
Gold Butte is the grazing area at the center of the cattle round-up and armed standoff in April 2014 involving Bundy and federal land management agents.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – A debate is raging in the inbox of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior about whether President Donald Trump should keep the scenic, ecologically fragile and artifact-rich Gold Butte area in southern Nevada as a national monument.
Comments ranging from “I hope this area will remain protected” to “shut down this monument designation” have been posted in recent weeks about the future of the rugged and arid rangeland covering about 470 square miles (1,217 square kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas.
Many messages are unsigned. Some only mention Gold Butte among the 27 national monuments under Trump administration review, including the vast Basin and Range region covering 1,100 square miles (2,849 square kilometers) of central Nevada. About half of the 109,000 public comments as of Friday referred to Bears Ears monument in Utah.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Wednesday instructing the Interior Department to review national monument designations made over the past two decades.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he was grateful that Trump was moving to roll back what Hatch called “massive federal land grabs” by presidents dating to Bill Clinton. Hatch and other Utah Republicans have long lamented Clinton’s 1996 designation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.
Government prosecutors stumbled again Monday in a bid to gain convictions of armed protesters in a case arising from skirmishes in a decades-old battle over control of public lands in the western United States.
A federal jury in Las Vegas found two gunmen guilty of some charges in a 2014 armed standoff that stopped federal agents from enforcing court orders and confiscating cows belonging to Cliven Bundy from public rangeland near his Nevada ranch and melon farm.
LAS VEGAS – A federal jury in Las Vegas signaled trouble deliberating conspiracy charges Thursday before ending work for the week in the trial of six men who brought assault-style weapons to a standoff with government agents near Cliven Bundy’s ranch in April 2014.
Jurors adjourned shortly before 12:30 p.m. without a verdict and decided to return Monday, after Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro told the eight women and four men that they are allowed to set their own schedule.
Madison — The U.S. is entering a period when its commitment to religious liberty is being tested, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito told an audience Wednesday at an event sponsored by a Catholic lawyers’ organization.
Alito used his own words from his dissent in the Supreme Court’s landmark same-sex marriage case, telling the gathering he had predicted opposition to the decision would be used to “vilify those who disagree, and treat them as bigots.”
“We are seeing this is coming to pass,” he said, then mentioned Bob Dylan’s famous song lyric, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A medical complaint by a defendant with a history of health problems briefly interrupted a trial Thursday in Las Vegas for six men accused of wielding guns during a 2014 armed standoff between followers of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and federal agents.
An attorney for Gregory Burleson rose suddenly during testimony and told Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro that Burleson needed immediate attention.
Attorneys and spectators in the courtroom said Burleson became pale and his hands were shaking when the judge called a two-hour break.