CARSON CITY — Nevada is appealing a federal judge’s ruling to allow the future transfer of nuclear material from South Carolina to a federal site in Nye County.
The state filed a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the Department of Energy from shipping a metric-ton of weapons grade plutonium from South Carolina into the state in November, but a judge last week denied that injunction.
On the day of the judge’s ruling, the Energy Department disclosed that it had delivered half a metric ton of the material, which is used as the core material in nuclear weapons, into the state before the initial lawsuit was filed.
POCATELLO — An Arimo ranching couple says they will soon lose access to feed some of their livestock, following a district judge’s decision Monday afternoon to allow the county to go forward with a road-use restriction.
Effective Feb. 11, Sixth District Judge Robert Naftz said he will dissolve the temporary restraining order he issued in late January on behalf of ranchers Sherrilyn and Dennis Munden, blocking enforcement of a road access restriction included in a new county ordinance.
The ordinance, approved in January, specifies that a 2-mile stretch of Garden Creek Road the Munden’s have used to haul feed to bulls, steers and horses is part of a designated snowmobiling route and is closed to other forms of traffic.
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.”
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.
In 2002, Grant County, Oregon banned the United Nations by citizen initiative. The referendum wasn’t close: 58 percent of voters said to keep the United Nations out of Eastern Oregon. The sponsors asserted the United Nations sought to impose “world taxation,” take away guns and private property and bring about “one world controlled education.”
That same year, Grant County voted to petition Congress for title to all federal lands inside the county. A decade later, county commissioners passed a measure forbidding the U.S. Forest Service from closing roads or trails.
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.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has restored grazing permits for the Hammond family from Oregon after losing the right to graze following federal charges that were later pardoned.
The announcement was made on Jan. 28 that Hammond Ranches would be able to graze their BLM allotments again. The BLM had stripped the right to graze after Dwight and Steven Hammond were convicted of felony arson in 2012. They were sentenced to five years imprisonment under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.
Federal ownership of vast acreage across the West is vulnerable to a constitutional challenge by affected state governments, according to a public lands attorney.
While court rulings until now have supported the federal government’s control over Western public lands, attorney George Wentz said those cases predate the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, which made federal ownership permanent.
An argument could be made that federal ownership of major swaths of 12 Western states effectively deprives them of the same sovereignty as the remaining 38 states, he said.
“Why are we inferior because we chose to live in the West?” Wentz asked growers at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention in New Orleans on Jan. 13.
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.”
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
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 …
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.
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.
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.”
Bunkerville resident Cliven Bundy has a plan for much of the public land in northeastern Clark County. And he wants to share it with all the neighboring residents of the area, as well as get their input.
The world-renown rancher, known for taking a firm position against federal government agencies in a 2014 standoff over grazing rights, will be presenting a comprehensive draft land use plan to the Moapa Valley Town Advisory Board (MVTAB) on Wednesday, December 12 in the Overton Community Center. The meeting starts at 7:00 pm.
“This is being presented in draft form because I would really like to have the input of the people of northeastern Clark County added to it,” Bundy said last week in an interview with the Progress. “That is why I’m bringing it to the local town boards. I’d like to have a lot of people turn out and make comments on it.”
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.
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.”
BURNS — Three-and-a-half hours after pardoned Oregon rancher Dwight Hammond Jr. arrived home, he gathered with his wife and sons around his dining room’s large circular table and got back to business.
They hooked him into a live feed of an auction in Nevada where Hammond Ranch Inc.’s 155 calves were on the block.
Hammond could have called in to participate in the annual sale but he held back, not wanting to jerk the reins from his daughter-in-law and others who have run the family’s cattle ranch while he and his son Steven served arson sentences in federal prison.
“We’ve had to trust them. No use to question their judgment now,” the 76-year-old said later, sitting in his living room, back in his trademark Wrangler jeans, brown cowboy boots and a blue button-down shirt that matched his eyes.
Recently the Wall Street Journal carried a front-page feature by Jim Carlton highlighting my family, the Hages. It attempted to cover the plight of western ranchers and our 40-year David-and-Goliath struggle to prevent the federal government from taking our ranch without just compensation through government threats, intimidation, prosecution, and abuse of discretion.
Pine Creek Ranch is now in foreclosure. We have won enormous landmark victories for western ranchers in multiple bench trials, including a $14 million judgment against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and – in a separate court – a ruling that the government had engaged in a conspiracy beginning in the 1970s to take our vested water rights and grazing preferences. However, on appeal, the federal courts twisted themselves into a legal pretzel to rule in favor of the government, finally taking our ranch judicially.
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.
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.
(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.”
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.
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.”