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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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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Investigators Release Report Clearing Zinke Of Wrongdoing Almost A Month After He Left Office | Daily Caller

Federal investigators released a report Thursday finding “no evidence” former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke committed misconduct while rolling back the borders of a national monument in Utah.

The report comes nearly a month after Zinke left office, in part because he was the focus of an unusually high number of federal investigations for someone of his position. Zinke announced he was leaving the Trump administration in mid-December 2018.

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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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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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Facebook shuts down Church group’s paid campaign to endorse William Perry Pendley

Victor and Annette Fuentes, have been fighting the USFW for over ten years, trying to restore the water that was diverted illegally from their property in Armogosa Valley of Nevada.  Mountain States Legal Foundation founded by William Perry Pendle has been […]

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Former fossil fuels lobbyist to head interior department as Zinke exits

David Bernhardt’s new job means top two US environmental agencies will be helmed by people once paid by industry.

Ryan Zinke’s exit as interior secretary elevates a former lobbyist to the job, meaning the top two US environmental agencies will now be run by people previously paid by industry.

The deputy secretary, David Bernhardt, will take over at least temporarily when Zinke steps down at the end of the year. He also could be in the running to head the department permanently. And at the Environmental Protection Agency, the acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, who was a coal lobbyist, will be nominated to keep the post.

Bernhardt was a fossil fuels and water industry lobbyist at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck before he joined the Trump administration. He was previously the chief lawyer at the interior department under the George W Bush administration .

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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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Investigation: Zinke did not redraw Grand Staircase boundary to benefit former Utah lawmaker Mike Noel – St George News

wrongdoing following a complaint that he redrew the boundaries of a national monument in Utah to benefit a former state lawmaker and political ally.

The Interior Department’s office of inspector general says it found no evidence that Zinke gave former state Rep. Mike Noel preferential treatment in shrinking the boundaries of Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

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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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According to Senator Mike Lee, Shooting of Unarmed Nurse Proves BLM Law Enforcement Must Go

Senator Lee is spearheading efforts in Congress to abolish increasingly militaristic and trigger-happy federal law enforcement offices. The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Office of Law Enforcement Services (OLES) is particularly odious, and many believe, has blood on its hands. From the tragic and absurd waste of life and resources Operation Cerberus Action in Utah to the Bundy Ranch raid, to shooting last week of an unarmed couple off-roading in California, BLM law enforcement is beginning to look like a frightening combination of Stasi and the Keystone Kops. That’s not mere hyperbole. Because federal OLES agents enjoy the protections of civil service status, not to mention large, insular bureaucracies to shield them from accountability, there is a seething culture within these organizations of corruption and lawlessness.

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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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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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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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Americans paying a big price for increasingly destructive, deadly wildfires

Dozens of people were killed in these catastrophic wildfires, many thousands of homes and structures destroyed and the tragedy continues to this day as many thousands of people try to piece their lives back together having lost everything in many cases. All of which cost tens of $-billions of dollars.

Commentary by Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.

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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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Column Thomas Mitchell: Neighbors hope Little Ash Springs remains closed

There are two sides to every story.

Four years ago the Bureau of Land Management locked the gate to Little Ash Springs north of Alamo for what was described as a couple of weeks due to a crumbling wall on a manmade pool. It remains closed.

Recently, the Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke told the Las Vegas newspaper, “This is exactly why the federal government needs to clean up our act. I’m not in the business of locking the public out.”

He added, “We need to work with local communities and be better neighbors …”

Speaking of neighbors, Joe and Andrea Barker own the 13-acre tract adjacent to and downstream from the 1-acre BLM-controlled Little Ash Springs. Their property is known as Big Ash Springs and has 50 springs feeding 94-degree water into meandering shallow rivulets that are home to two endangered species — the White River springfish and the Pahranagat roundtail chub found only in the Ash Springs system.

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3% Stand With Snake River Ranchers

The 71-year-old rancher has become the focus of a legal effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Spokane, which is asking a federal judge to sanction Riley for “trespass, encroachment, damages” and make him pay the legal costs incurred by forcing Riley to abide by the rules on ground purchased by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers some 53 years ago.

“The government just has too many employees and too much money,” said Riley’s nephew, Chad Lindgren, who works Riley’s River Ranch. “They are not going to back down. They are not going to give in unless we make them give in.”

And, he noted, the yearslong dispute is being funded by taxpayers: “We are basically paying those people to be a pain in our ass.”

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Newspaper column: Move the headquarters of federal land agencies West : Feb 16 by Thomas Mitchell

Head ’em up, move ’em out.

There has been a lot of talk since the Trump administration has taken over about where to locate the national headquarters of some of the nation’s federal land agencies. One land agency, the Bureau of Land Management, controls 11 percent of the nation’s lands, but 99 percent of that land is in the West.

Fully 85 percent of the land in Nevada is controlled by those federal land agencies, the highest percentage of any state, with 66 percent of the state lying under the purview of the BLM, while the rest of the public land is controlled by agencies such as the Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Reclamation.

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