Lee targeting powers of BLM, Forest Service

Larry Wooten wrote that misconduct by now-fired Special Agent in Charge Dan Love and other supervisors caused “considerable disruption in our workplace, was discriminatory, harassing and showed clear prejudice against the defendants, their supporters and Mormons.”

Wooten’s memo went on to describe how he heard repeatedly that Love had a “Kill Book,” as a trophy and “in essence bragged about getting three individuals in Utah to commit suicide (see Operation Cerberus Action out of Blanding, Utah and the death of Dr. (James) Redd).”

Lee points to the 2009 Blanding raid involving Redd — who killed himself — as an example of BLM law enforcement gone amok, with multiple pre-dawn raids served at gunpoint.

“What happened in Blanding is a symptom of the underlying problem,” he said.

The so-called “Kill Book,” he added, is “abhorrent. This is the kind of thing that could have or would have been addressed more quickly with a state or local law enforcement agency.”

Lee said local law enforcement can carry out the same functions of BLM and the Forest Service and are more accountable to local residents.

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Death Valley National Park hopes to be burro-free within the next five years.

At a glance: Unlike the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service is not directed by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1972 to maintain a population of burros.

Death Valley National Park’s 2002 General Management Plan, which went through extensive public review, calls for removing all burros from the park to protect water quality, riparian ecosystems, native plants, and native animals.

Burro populations have increased greatly in recent years. The last burro roundup in Death Valley National Park was in 2005.

Source: Death Valley National Park

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BLM plans law enforcement shakeup

The Bureau of Land Management revealed today it is contemplating an overhaul of its law enforcement program — from the location of its headquarters to whether rangers should wear visible flak jackets.

Deputy Director Brian Steed discussed the pending modifications in testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining.

“We’re quite active right now in reviewing all policies regarding our law enforcement,” Steed told Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R). An outspoken critic of BLM law enforcement, Lee has endorsed dissolving the agency’s police force and instead relying on local officers or FBI agents.

Steed provided few details about the potential reorganization — which comes as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is contemplating a broader overhaul of the entire department, as well as a potential relocation of BLM headquarters to a Western state.

Steed testified that BLM officials are evaluating whether the agency’s law enforcement “should be restructured to better fit organizational needs.”

“We absolutely are trying to increase our accountability to the American people by having the right personnel at the helms. We’re absolutely trying to change policy to make sure that we’re as accountable and responsive and as good at our job as possible,” Steed said at the hearing.

He noted that BLM has directed its officers to focus on “casework with direct ties to public lands,” including cross-border smuggling activities and the theft of mineral materials and historical objects.

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Embattled federal prosecutor Steven Myhre in Nevada takes a step down

After a stormy year, the long tenure of Steven Myhre as the No. 2 prosecutor in the Nevada U.S. attorney’s office has ended under secrecy.

Within the past month, Myhre left his job as first assistant to Interim U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson and took on new duties in the office as a senior litigation counsel, several former federal prosecutors who have spoken with office members told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

His new position comes with no supervisory responsibilities, but allows him to mentor and train younger attorneys, according to a Justice Department manual.

Last May, Myhre, who spent about 15 years as first assistant in the office, was ordered to undergo anti-sex discrimination training as a result of a federal case filed by a female prosecutor during the tenure of former U.S. Attorney Greg Brower in 2008 and 2009.

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Lawsuit wants protections for Nevada’s Amargosa River, 7 others

Environmentalists have filed suit against federal regulators over protections for eight rivers in California, including one that originates in Nevada, the Amargosa River.

Congress designated portions of the Amargosa and seven other rivers as wild and scenic in 2009, but the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management never completed comprehensive management plans for them as required by law, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Tucson, Arizona-based group sued the two agencies in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles late last month, arguing that the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act required the development of management plans for the rivers within three years of their designation.

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Nye County eyeing public shooting range options

Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen has initiated a crucial step in the effort to bring the first-ever county-owned public shooting range to the Pahrump Valley, posing an agenda item that could trigger forward movement on the longstanding concept.

With a unanimous vote in favor of the item, county staff is now tasked with bringing forward figures outlining the costs that would be associated with establishing a public shooting range at one of various locations throughout the valley so as to identify the most likely location for such a project.

Schinhofen explained in an interview that the county has been striving toward opening a public shooting range for many, many years.

“We’ve never let this idea go, we’ve been working on getting land for a range for a very long time but now it’s really time to find out what the costs are going to be and how we are going to do it,” he stated. Schinhofen’s item directed county staff to draft options for the Nye County Commission so they can review them and decide what is best for the community.

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New film documents “conspiracy” of massive government takeover of Western lands in quest to own ALL natural resources

(Natural News) A new film featuring scores of interviews with ranchers and longtime residents of Western states documents what many have long viewed as the federal government’s insatiable appetite for land and resources.

In the first of two trailers introducing the documentary, which is titled, “Land Grab: The Conspiracy to Own All of the Natural Resources in the Western U.S.,” James White of Northwest Liberty News said the film is a product of interviews he conducted with landowners and ranchers throughout the West who have dealt with a federal land management bureaucracy that has become increasingly hostile over the past few decades.

The worst abuses and mismanagement of land and resources, however, has occurred in recent years, with ranchers and landowners citing many instances of problematic interactions with the U.S. Department of the Interior and its various agencies.

“When we first came to Nevada, the [U.S.] Forest Service was very cooperative, they wanted us to survive, they wanted us to make the grade,” said Elko, Nevada resident Kent Howard, who is now deceased. “As time went on, the Forest Service turned completely around, and by the time we got out of the cattle business, the Forest Service was doing everything they possibly could to make it hard for you.”

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County Officials Propose Legislation To Expand Tortoise Habitat For Northern Corridor Route

ST. GEORGE – Congressional legislation proposed by Washington County officials that would expand protected desert tortoise habitat in exchange for a route for the highly sought-after northern corridor through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve was the subject of an open house at the Dixie Center St. George Wednesday night.

Called the “Desert Tortoise Habitat Conservation Plan Expansion Act,” the proposed bill would add nearly 7,000 acres to the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve in the area west of Bloomington and south of Santa Clara in exchange for a right-of-way for the northern corridor that state and county road planners say the region needs for future transportation needs.

“We’ve already talked to all of our (congressional) delegation about this bill,” Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson said. “We’ve talked to Congressman (Chris) Stewart who is prepared to introduce the legislation. So we’ve given it to them, and that’s the status of (the bill) right now.”

While the bill could be officially introduced in the near-future, Iverson said, county officials organized an open house to educate and get input from the public on the proposed bill. While the actual language of the draft bill was not available for review, a handout with highlights of the bill was provided at the open house.

Among those points is renewing the Habitat Conservation Plan for another 25 years. The original plan expired two years ago with local, state and federal officials working together to resolve issues that have delayed the HCP’s renewal.

Thus far the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed the HCP to continue functioning while negotiations for renewal continue.

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Zinke creates ‘Made in America’ committee for outdoor recreation

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the members of the “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee, which was established Nov. 8 to serve as an advisory board on public-private partnerships across all public lands, with the goal of expanding access to and improving infrastructure and waterways.

The committee “is made up of the private sector’s best and brightest to tackle some of our biggest public lands infrastructure and access challenges ,” Zinke said Monday in a press release. “ Dating back to the early days of the National Park Service, American businesses have been helping improve the public’s public land experience by doing everything from building iconic lodges like the Grand Canyon’s El Tovar to the historic “red jammers” in Glacier National Park.

“This committee will help build on that legacy and provide valuable insight into addressing the maintenance backlog on our public lands. The committee’s collective experience as entrepreneurs and business leaders provide unique insight that is often lost in the Federal government. As we rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, we can continue the exponential growth of the American recreation sector, which supports millions of American jobs and bares a significant impact on our economy.”

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Government Announces New ‘Flexible’ Grazing Permits For Oregon Ranchers

Trump administration officials are calling it ‘outcome-based grazing,’ and are offering the option to 11 ranches and livestock companies as a demonstration. Critics are saying it weakens accountability standards for ranchers grazing on public lands.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two Oregon ranches will be among 11 in the country to be offered a new kind of process for livestock grazing on public lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced on Friday.

Known as outcome-based grazing authorizations (OBGAs), the new process offers an “unprecedented level of flexibility in the management of livestock,” according to the BLM.

Roaring Springs Ranch near Burns, Oregon and Fitzgerald Ranch near Lakeview, Oregon will be two of the 11 ‘demonstration projects.’ The other test cases are spread throughout the western United States—including Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, Idaho and Colorado.

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Editorial Thomas Mitchell : Trump administration settles suit over habitat rules

The Trump administration has settled a lawsuit filed by Nevada and 19 other states over Obama administration rules that sweepingly redefined what constituted critical habitat for endangered species and has agreed to rewrite those rules.

The suit, filed in November 2016 against various federal land agencies, accused the federal bureaucrats of essentially rewriting the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) to give themselves potential veto power over any use whatsoever on every square foot of rural land, public or private, in the country.

Though the ESA gives the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authority to protect “critical habitat” occupied by endangered or threatened species, the rewritten rules redefined “critical habitat” to include land currently unoccupied by those species but just might someday, in some way, somehow — as a result of global warming or a meteor strike, perhaps — later become “critical habitat.”

Those rules gave federal agents the power to block or alter any activity — grazing, farming, buildings, mining, recreation, roads, fences, pipelines, ditches, power lines, irrigation, oil and gas exploration — that might somehow adversely affect a potential habitat for certain protected rodents, minnows, bugs, birds, reptiles, beasts and weeds.

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Custer Museum director releases bombshell book exposing deadly BLM abuses

Chris Kortlander, who last year made headlines by detailing the terrible human costs, including many suicides, resulting from the actions of aggressive and unaccountable Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents, has written a book about his own harrowing experiences with the agency. Arrow to the Heart first recounts several controversial BLM debacles which occurred during the Obama years, including the Bundy Ranch and Gibson Guitar raids, and the deadly Utah sting, Operation Cerberus, which led to the suicide deaths of several men in the Four Corners region. Kortlander also takes readers back thirteen years, to the BLM raid of the Custer Battlefield Museum, which he founded, and the abuses and lies that nearly destroyed his life. But more than just an expose’ of historical federal abuses, Kortlander also explores the dark corners of corrupt Deep State machinations.

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State to U.S. : You Can’t Transfer Federal Lands, Unless We Say So

New Section 27338 of the Government Code forbids the recordation of a deed or instrument of transfer that does not comply with Section 8560.  And it orders the “federal agency wishing to convey federal public lands” to ensure that the instrument complies with the new California law.  (Of course, the federal government wouldn’t be seeking the recordation; the transferee would.)  All this would be risible grist for a legal comedian’s mill, but the very real penalties, and the costs of having to mount the legal challenge against the State, are daunting.  All persons who have land deals pending with the Federal Government are at risk, at the very least, of skittish federal lawyers wondering what their liability could be, for merely carrying out their obligations under federal law, which is to say the supreme law.

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Southern Nevada District Office will be holding a Designated Leasing Area Siting Forum March 13, 2018

Southern Nevada District Office
FOR RELEASE: February 26, 2018
CONTACT: John Asselin (702) 515-5046; jasselin@blm.gov

BLM holds Designated Leasing Area Siting Forum March 13

LAS VEGAS – The Bureau of Land Management will hold a Designated Leasing Area Siting Forum for the Southern Nevada District on March 13 in the ballroom at the Santa Fe Station in Las Vegas.

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BLM’s thugocracy lives on in William Woody and Salvatore Lauro

Part II: BLM’s thugocracy lives on

As we reported last week, William C. Woody, a spendthrift of questionable character, has been shuffled from director of law enforcement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) back to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), where he was previously director of law enforcement from 2003 to 2012. Reports place him in southeastern Utah on June 10, 2009, the day Operation Cerberus Action culminated with several military-style raids on private homes in the Four Corners area. Four men took their lives in the aftermath of the raids, yet, not one person was ever convicted as a result of  the antiquities sting. Dan Love, the disreputable and dangerous BLM agent made infamous for his role in the Bundy Ranch debacle, served under Woody at the time and was instrumental in setting up and executing Operation Cerberus Action. Love was present during the inhumane interrogations of Blanding physician, James Redd, who took his own life the morning following the raids.

Woody later praised Dan Love and subsequently named him BLM Law Enforcement Agent of the Year for 2009. Love was lauded as a hero in a report published by the BLM marking its law enforcement ‘successes’ for that year. Ironically, the report praised Love, whose subsequent activities nearly destroyed the reputation of the BLM, and who is now regarded as the poster boy for federal overreach and corruption, saying, “Special Agent Love’s exemplary effort on this investigation has brought great credit upon him and the BLM.”

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Turmoil shakes up agency in charge of vast U.S. lands

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.

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