A coalition of environmental groups is asking the US Bureau of Land Management to round up Cliven Bundy’s cattle and remove them from Gold Butte, but the agency is taking a hands-off approach for fear that armed militants will once again confront agents and contractors.
Several grassroots organizations have been involved in the Bundy saga for many years, including Great Old Broads for Wilderness, WildEarth Guardians, Western Lands Project, and the Center for Biological Diversity.
Saying the BLM’s “publicly stated unwillingness to promptly address ongoing trespass livestock violates the duty of the agency to conserve” the endangered Mojave desert tortoise, which is severely affected by grazing cattle, yesterday those groups sent a joint letter to Director Neil Kornze in Washington, DC.
Our organizations are well aware that the threat of violence and tactical intimidation of agency personnel by the livestock operator were very real barriers to the removal of trespassing livestock in the region. Though we were disappointed that the April 2014 removal effort was not successful, we understand that the safety risks at that time were real. But now that Mr. Bundy and many of his allies are being held in federal prisons for their actions during the 2014 round-up event,5 we believe the threat to agency personnel on the ground is substantially less than it was two year ago. Therefore, we urge you to now take action to remove the trespass cattle that have been threatening the Mojave desert tortoise for over twenty years.
[…] The need to remove Mr. Bundy’s livestock is separate and apart from the current prosecution of Mr. Bundy’s federal charges, and the BLM must not wait to act to protect the desert tortoise. The cattle should be rounded up and removed from these public lands no later than summer 2016.
Bundy and four of his sons await trial for the 2014 standoff, which halted the BLM’s first attempted roundup, as well as the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon this year. But the agency has deferred to those pending prosecutions as a reason for delay rather than action, a stance that federal attorneys seem to second.
BLM, however, currently has no seizure plan for the livestock, agency spokesman Jeff Krauss said in an email. “Mr Bundy’s cattle continue to be in trespass. There are no plans for a gather at this time as we continue to cooperate with the Department of Justice on the ongoing legal matter.”
Spokespersons for the US justice department did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
Of course, none of this delay makes any difference to the paranoid ‘patriot’ narrative of a tyrannical federal government.
Angie Bundy, wife of Ryan, one of the jailed activists, said the family would not be surprised if federal authorities showed up again. “I really believe they’ve conveniently put our men in jails so they can come after our land and our resources.”
Cliven’s youngest son, Arden, 18, has taken on many of the responsibilities at the ranch, and other relatives are helping out, according to Angie.
“Arden had to grow up fast,” she said, adding that the ranch is still running smoothly. “The cows should do well this year if people leave them alone.”
Known for threatening “RANGE WAR!” against any contractor who agrees to work with the BLM, Bundy is reportedly still running the ranch from a jailhouse telephone, but matters at home may not be going as smoothly as his family would like everyone to think.
According to government sources, the Bundy cows are almost completely feral from neglect. Some of them are emaciated, while the dangers of rounding them up have been compared to hunting cape buffalo.Click here for reuse options!
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