The situation between Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over land near Bunkerville, Nev., has intensified as federal officers and supporters of the rancher and his family exchanged a few blows.
The controversy is over whether Bundy owes the federal government millions in grazing fees for his cattle being on the land, which he contends is rightfully his going back more than a century. He also points to a previous agreement with local Clark County that allows him to use the land. As the circumstances unfold, the government has started seizing hundreds of cattle, many of which belong to Bundy.
Protesters and militia groups have begun to rally behind the Bundy family in recent days, sparking some scuffles between the BLM and federal agents. Both sides claim the other is growing overly aggressive; there are reports of protesters surrounding government vehicles, while Bundy’s family has reportedly been tasered and “roughed up” by government officials.
Tensions have reached such a point that one militia group has stated that it is not “afraid to shoot,” according to the Washington Times.
Meanwhile, Nevada governor Brian Sandoval spoke out against the bureau’s “disturbing” confinement of protesters to a “First Amendment area” on the public land; the federal officials have since allowed them to gather on the land as long as they don’t interfere with the seizure of cattle.
“No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans,” Sandoval said.
The Blaze’s Dana Loesch reports on possible ties to another prominent Nevada politician: Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
Part of the BLM’s justification for enforcing its authority over the land is that it falls within the boundaries of a protection area for desert tortoises, a threatened species. But, Loesch writes in her blog, exemptions and accommodations for land falling inside the boundaries have been made in the past for wind- and solar-power projects, as well as a top Reid donor named Harvey Whittemore (Whittmore is currently serving time in prison for illegal campaign contributions to Reid’s campaign.) She asks why similar accommodations can’t be made for Bundy.
As the situation continues to unfold, Bundy’s daughter has offered a plea to onlookers.
“Wake up America,” Bailey Bundy Logue told KSL-TV. “Look what our ancestors fought for and we need to stand up for that. We need to realize what’s happening. They are taking everything away from us. This isn’t only about one family. This is about everyone’s family. This is martial law and it’s in America and so what are you going to do to have it stay out of America?”