Interior docs: ‘We could be in for a little bit of a siege’

Within days of the 2016 armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell pressed President Obama to prosecute the anti-government activists leading the siege, saying “bringing these people to justice” was critical to the safety of federal land managers.

The comments were included in 2,500 pages of newly released emails E&E News reviewed between top Interior aides and officials during the 2016 incident when Nevada ranchers Ryan and Ammon Bundy led anti-government activists in a 41-day siege of a remote federal site in eastern Oregon.

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WVU Professor’s Book ‘Up In Arms’ Takes a Look At Militia Uprisings | The Intelligencer

“People in the mainstream were like, “What the hell? These people are crazy,’ is the first reaction I get,” Temple said. “That’s just a very dismissive way to look at it. You’re never going to understand someone else’s viewpoints if you don’t ask the question, ‘Why are they doing this?’”

Temple, 49, who also wrote about the opioid crisis with “American Pain” that was released in 2015, offers another unflinching view of the state of the country with “Up In Arms.”

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Judge temporarily halts grazing on federal public land near Burns

A federal judge Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order that bars Hammonds Ranches Inc. from livestock grazing on federal public land near Burns during June.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon ruled from the bench, noting a written order would follow. He also has scheduled another hearing for June 28 to consider a motion by three environmental advocacy groups for a preliminary injunction barring further grazing at the sites.

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INTERIOR: Whistleblower: BLM ignores illegal grazing after Bundy fiasco

A career Bureau of Land Management official who was fired last month says the Trump administration is refusing to enforce federal laws and regulations governing livestock grazing in Nevada out of fear of sparking another armed standoff like the one five years ago involving rancher Cliven Bundy.

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Environmental groups sue BLM to block renewal of grazing permit for Hammond Ranches

Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity and Wildearth Guardians filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Pendleton against the interior secretary, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the district manager of the land bureau’s Burns District office.The three groups argue that then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s renewal of the grazing permit after the Hammonds were issued pardons violated federal administrative regulations because it failed to consider the Hammonds’ unsatisfactory record.

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Lawyer says rancher Cliven Bundy will appeal lawsuit dismissal

Cliven Bundy speaks with media outside the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse after Scott Drexler’s court hearing in Las Vegas, Aug. 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist A lawyer for Cliven Bundy said Wednesday that he plans to appeal a […]

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BLM Now Hopes Hammond’s Cattle Can Reduce Fire Risk

In a most ironic twist in a western saga that has featured more than a few twists, the Bureau of Land Management hopes cattle from Dwight and Steven Hammond – ranchers the U.S. government prosecuted for starting range fires – can reduce a fire risk on the high desert of eastern Oregon.The Hammond’s long-running dispute with the federal government ended with prison sentences for arson — and later inspired the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation. President Trump pardoned the Hammonds in July of last year.

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PUBLIC LANDS: Cliven Bundy to appeal lawsuit judge calls ‘delusional’ 

In an eight-page ruling (See Below), Nevada state Judge Jim Crockett rejected Bundy’s assertion that only individual states — rather than the U.S. government — can own public lands.”It is simply delusional to maintain that all public land within the boundaries of Nevada belongs to the State of Nevada,” Crockett wrote in the decision dated April 1 and published yesterday.

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Judge tosses Cliven Bundy’s claim that state owns all public lands | Las Vegas Review-Journal

District Judge Jim Crockett’s decision was handed down in response to court papers filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation group, which had intervened in the case. The judge’s decision followed previous court decisions against Bundy, who has claimed the federal government should not own land.“It is painfully obvious that the claims asserted by Bundy in the instant matter rest upon a fundamentally flawed notion advanced by Bundy since 1998 regarding ownership of federal public lands,” Crockett wrote in an eight-page decision.

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Learning From The Hammond’s Federal Lands Saga | Agweb.com

Dwight and Steven Hammonds are back on the ranch, after a long and lengthy battle over grazing rights and property management. But even after a pardon and release from prison, the journey back to reinstating their grazing permits has just begun.

Ethan Lane, executive director of the Public Lands Council talked with host Chip Flory about the saga on AgriTalk during the 2019 Cattle Industry and NCBA Tradeshow.

The Hammonds were back-burning on private property, a normal ranching method to lower wildfire risk and control timber encroachment, when some federal lands caught on fire.

“That’s an important part of this,” Lane said. “It was a normal farming and ranching practice.”

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Justice Department files 88-page appeal to reverse stinging defeat against Bundy clan in Nevada standoff – Washington Times

The Justice Department filed an appeal Wednesday of its devastating defeat against Cliven Bundy in the Nevada standoff, disputing the federal judge’s decision last year to throw out the case based on prosecutorial wrongdoing.

The 88-page motion, filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenged Chief U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro’s blistering finding of “flagrant” misconduct, which prompted her to declare a mistrial in December 2017 and dismiss the charges a month later.

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Southern California deserts need protection, Congress says as it crafts legislation for off-roading, wilderness land – San Bernardino Sun

Republicans and Democrats disagree on a lot of issues, but protecting deserts in Southern California doesn’t seem to be one of them.

Legislation was introduced this month in both chambers of Congress, by members of both major parties, with the goal of protecting 716,000 acres of regional desert, adding a swath nearly as big as Rhode Island to regional land that’s already under protection. New protected zones would include off-highway vehicle recreation areas and wilderness, and an expansion of several National Parks.

The identical bills, sponsored by Rep. Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, in the House of Representatives and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, in the Senate, are the result of years of work with the off-roading community, conservationists and local governments. For different reasons, all of those interests want to see the protections in place.

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Cliven Bundy’s cattle still graze on federal land 5 years after standoff | Video

LAS VEGAS – A year after a judge dismissed charges against rancher Cliven Bundy, two of his sons and another man, an appeal is coming.

Federal prosecutors announcing this week they are challenging a decision by a U.S. District Court judge to declare a mistrial and dismiss the case against the four men related to the armed standoff near Bunkerville, Nevada back in 2014.

The vast valley surrounding the Virgin River sprawls for miles in every direction. Recent rains have left the range lush with vegetation.

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NOMINATIONS: Meet the long-shot contender to lead Interior — Tuesday, January 29, 2019 — www.eenews.net

The Mountain States Legal Foundation claims two former Interior secretaries among its alumni, and conservative activists are pushing to add a third individual to that group: former foundation President William Perry Pendley.

Pendley, who had helmed the conservative law firm since 1989, left his post late last year without fanfare.

“BTW, no longer with @MSLF but NEVER retired; busy as ever!” Pendley posted to his Twitter account on Dec. 9, referring to the foundation.

But a few days later, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced his resignation from the Trump administration, and Pendley’s name became among those floated to replace the former Montana lawmaker.

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Justice Department seeks to appeal stinging defeat against Cliven Bundy in Nevada standoff case – Washington Times

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they plan to appeal their demoralizing defeat in the Nevada standoff trial, which saw a federal judge rebuke prosecutors for “flagrant misconduct” and dismiss all charges against rancher Cliven Bundy and two of his sons.

Elizabeth O. White, assistant U.S. attorney for Nevada, assured the court that the appeal would be filed by Feb. 6 after asking for a 14-day extension, saying the “review process is complete and the Solicitor General has authorized the government’s appeal.”

“Undersigned counsel further advises that the draft brief is nearly complete, editing of the completed portions has begun, and she has begun the laborious process of preparing the excerpts of record and updating the record citations in brief to the excerpts of record,” Ms. White said in the motion.

The Justice Department already had requested and received two extensions, but it was unclear until Wednesday whether prosecutors would go forward with the appeal.

Bundy attorney Larry Klayman condemned the decision to file the appeal, which would go before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. He accused the government of “circling the wagons” to protect prosecutors, including former Acting U.S. Attorney for Nevada Steven Myhre.

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Solicitor general still undecided on new trial for Bundy

OJ Appellate Chief and Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth White revealed Francisco’s apparent indecision on Wednesday in a request to delay opening briefs in the case, which centers on a 2014 armed standoff between the Bundys and their supporters and the Bureau of Land Management.

“Despite the government’s diligent efforts, the Solicitor General’s review of the matter is not yet complete,” White wrote, pointing to the “massive” record in the case. “His Office, and the Solicitor General himself, are carefully reviewing the issues, the record, and the draft government brief.”

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#APNewsBreak: New pen may allow sale of horses for slaughter

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service has built a new corral for wild horses in Northern California, which could allow it to bypass federal restrictions and sell the animals for slaughter.

The agency acknowledged in court filings in a potentially precedent-setting legal battle that it built the pen for mustangs gathered in the fall on national forest land along the California-Nevada border because of restrictions on such sales at other federal holding facilities.

The agency denies claims by horse advocates it has made up its mind to sell the more than 250 horses for slaughter. But it also says it may have no choice because of the high cost of housing the animals and continued ecological impacts it claims overpopulated herds are having on federal rangeland.

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Lawyer asks government if it will continue ‘gross injustice’ against Bundys

The federal government is preparing to appeal the dismissal of charges against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his sons, and supporters for the 2014 armed standoff with Bureau of Land Management agents

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Federal land acquisition in Nevada’s Pine Nut mountains intended to protect critical habit and public access | Nevada Capital News

Carson City – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved the Bently Land Acquisition Project of nearly 15,000 acres of environmentally important lands owned by Bently Family Limited Partnership.  The roughly 50 disparate parcels are in-holding lands in the BLM managed Pine Nut Mountains of Douglas, Carson, and Lyon Counties.  The properties are located within a central 20-mile section of the Pine Nut Mountains, which run north-south for some 40 miles.  To learn more about this pending land transfer, we spoke with Victoria Wilkins, acting field manager for the Sierra Front Field Office of the BLM in Carson City …

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Jon Raby Named Director of BLM’s Nevada State Office | KRNV

RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced that Jon Raby, a veteran BLM land manager and leader, has been named State Director in Nevada.

Raby will report to the BLM Nevada State Office in Reno in early January 2019.

Raby, who is currently serving as the Acting Montana/Dakotas State Director will lead the management of 48 million acres of public land in Nevada and 59 million acres of Federal mineral resources.

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PUBLIC LANDS: Bundy: ‘It is due time’ for new management proposal — Wednesday, December 12, 2018 — www.eenews.net

But while Bundy’s battle with BLM over grazing fees appears to be dormant, his fight with federal prosecutors may not be over.

Although Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro barred federal prosecutors from seeking a new trial against Bundy and his sons, the government filed a “protective notice of appeal” in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this summer.

Federal prosecutors are required to file their opening brief in that case by Jan. 2, with a response from Bundy and his sons by Feb. 1.

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Report: FBI suggested waiving fees for Cliven Bundy before ranch standoff, did not consider him a threat – The Washington Post

Three years before the impoundment of Cliven Bundy’s cattle turned into an armed confrontation between anti-government groups and federal agents, the FBI made an assessment that the Nevada rancher personally was unlikely to be violent in the event of conflict. The agency suggested a novel solution to Bundy’s 20 years of unpaid bills, one designed to put the dispute to rest: drop the fines he owed altogether.

The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, based in Quantico, Va., determined in 2011 that the rancher was unlikely to comply with federal court orders to move his 900 animals off federal land, where they had been illegally grazing, because “he only has enough land to handle less than 100 head of cattle.” Though the Bureau of Land Management was concerned that allowing Bundy to avoid paying federal grazing fees and fines could lead to violence, the FBI thought otherwise.

“BLM may wish to consider waiving the existing fines, as a gesture of willingness to participate in discussions geared toward negotiations,” the FBI wrote in the classified analysis, obtained by The Washington Post. The unit concluded that any alternatives the government could offer Bundy might reduce the rancher’s stress and “in turn, reduce the risk of a violent act.”

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

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.

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.

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Grazing is ‘indispensable’ to America. Or, it’s a ‘cancer,’ westerners tell Congress

Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little told a congressional committee Thursday that livestock grazing on Western public lands provides a host of benefits to American taxpayers.

Chief among those, he said, is the rapid initial attack ranchers make on burgeoning wildfires, which helps keep them to a manageable size.

“That saves you (the federal government) an enormous amount of money,” Little told the House Natural Resource Committee’s federal lands subcommittee, which held a 90-minute hearing on “the essential role of livestock grazing on federal lands and its importance to rural America.”

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