Let’s Talk About Gold Butte and the COWS!

Much has been written and debated about the cows that local Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy has been grazing on BLM managed property in the Gold Butte area in defiance of their demands and lawful court orders to remove them. The Bundy family was among the white settlers of the Virgin Valley and firmly fit the definition of the term “Good Old Boys” used by many in Mesquite.  Below is some background for those who may not be familiar with the Bundy cow situation:

Beginning twenty years ago in 1993, the BLM has been in dispute with Bundy over his right to graze the Bunkerville Allotment of the Gold Butte area. After the BLM terminated Bundy’s grazing permit for Bundy’s failure to pay required grazing fees in 1998, Clark County, as administrator for the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, purchased the grazing rights from the BLM for $375,000 and retired them, in order to fulfill requirements under that plan to protect endangered desert tortoises.

Despite having no legal right to do so and in defiance of federal court orders, Bundy has continued to graze his cattle throughout the Gold Butte area without paying a penny to do so for decades, competing with tortoises for food, hindering the restoration of extensive wildfires, trampling rare plants, damaging ancient American Indian cultural sites, and threatening the safety of recreationists. A drive along Gold Butte Road will often require that you dodge trespassing cattle. Surveys by the BLM have found well over 1,000 cattle — many in easily damaged freshwater springs and riparian areas on public lands managed by the National Park Service and State of Nevada as well as the BLM.

In April 2012, the BLM was finally planning to enforce the law and have Bundy’s cows removed, but veiled threats and bravado stopped the planned roundup of the trespassing cattle under the 1998 court ruling. The BLM had decided to go to court even again to assure that their planned actions were correct, lawful, and current.

Late last week the U.S. District Court of Nevada issued another ruling (see the Court Order here) that affirms, once again, the right of the federal Bureau of Land Management to remove cattle trespassing in southeastern Nevada’s Gold Butte area to protect desert tortoises, other imperiled species, ancient cultural resources, and the safety of the recreating public. In the ruling the court again dismissed Bundy’s claims that the Federal Government doesn’t own the land by again affirming that the property was ceded to the United States of America by Mexico and has been owned by the USA since 1848. The court also again dismissed Bundy’s claim that Nevada’s Open Range statute overrides Federal Law, as well as his other defenses. The decision affirms the previous finding by the same court, made in 1998 and later upheld on appeal. The legal ruling has now been affirmed twice and unquestionably upheld after appeals by Bundy and has now again provided the BLM with a clear and undisputed mandate to proceed with what should have occurred over 12 years ago. The Court Order gave Bundy 45 days to remove the cattle, after which the BLM is authorized to “seize and remove to impound” the cattle. The court order was signed on July 9, 2013 and thus the 45 day period will end on August 23, 2013.

It has been interesting to watch local political figures dance with this issue. Do they support the founding families in defiance of federal law? Do they take the same position as Bundy that the U.S. Government doesn’t own Federal Land? Do they support the enforcement of the law only against those who are not members of the Club? Their position on these questions should tell you a lot about who they represent.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Comments

  1. Ralph Drake says

    Very interesting history, I hope you will follow up as time progresses. This appears to be a flagrant violation of federal law.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  2. Charles P says

    This is the main issue people have with the “pioneers”, they think the law and rules don’t apply to THEM. Regarding Mr. Bundy, he should be in jail. They have given him many opportunities to comply, he is just too lazy to get out of the 1800’s. He broke the law, arrest him. As to our cowardly elected officials and the BLM, do your jobs. Roundup those cows. If Bundy doesn’t like it, deal with it.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  3. Teresa says

    Cliven Bundy has not paid the required permit fee since 1998? Can you imagine refusing to pay your property tax on your home since 1998? You would be dealt with quickly. I would say the cattle need to be rounded up and sold and the money goes to the fees he never paid. The way I see it, it is public land, my land.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  4. Martin says

    For all those founding fathers “follow the Constitution” thumpers, this is a perfect example of a wrong that needs to be righted. Bundy has had every opportunity through the courts to have his case heard and he lost. He need to OBEY THE LAW and remove his cows. The BLM needs to get off their butts and see that it happens. All the local pioneer families should agree, Bundy is dead wrong and we obey the law in Mesquite. Do you really mean to tell me LDS Presidents Theron Jensen and Kraig Hafen cannot counsel Bundy into obeying the law? Bundy is making a mockery of the law, the LDS church (Bundy is LDS with 14 children), and Bunkerville. Elected officials Cresent Hardy and Mark Wier should step in to reolve this. Hardy lives in Bunkerville and Bundy is his neighbor. What about it Cresent Hardy? Do you believe in the law?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • Rudy Moertl says

        Did you just say that as a lawmaker you don’t believe in the law? That’s funny… Hahahahahaha!

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • rheades says

      Does Cresent Hardy believe in the law? He could follow obama’s example and call it a “Phony Scandal”.But then there’s no dead Americans,only dead plants.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        • rheades says

          The topic was about cows,not bad mouthing Cresent Hardy,Bunkerville or Mark Wier

          VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
          • John Williams says

            The article was NOT about the President of the United States or security procedures at foreign embassies. Local politicians failures to deal with a local problem IS fair commentary.

            VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
            Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  5. Gerry Chase says

    This better not turn out to be one of those insane stand-offs with the cops and FBI by some crazy old rancher. The “pioneers” better be going in force out to talk to this guy and wise him up. Anything else would be a huge embarrassment to the local pioneer families and to our community. What we don’t need is hundreds of national headlines about a stand off in Mesquite NV by some crazy old Mormon guy. It’s bad for everybody. He’s wrong, face it.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  6. Brent says

    It is critical for our community that community leaders like Assemblyman Cresent Hardy and LDS church leader Kraig Hafen go talk some sense into Bundy. That is what community officials do. If Mr. Bundy doesn’t comply with the law and does something more stupid, it reflects badly on Hardy and Hafen for not doing something about it when they had the chance to show what they are made of and why they deserve our vote.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  7. Rudy Moertl says

    Why do we let these individuals and their cows continuously violate our rights. We have the right, the legal right to mainain our desert for our use and not have is violated and destroyed as these individual deems fit.

    Stop dreading on our freedom by holding our lands hostage and threatening violence. These crazy old Nevadans who came in with the Mormons thinks they have a right to all lands thay can get their hands on. Why don’t they just buy THEIR LAND on the open market, and don’t try to steal OUR LAND. There are some old time Nevadans who have many acres that can be bought. Try stealing their land sometime.

    BTW you should take a look at how they take care of the lands they legally own! What a mess!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  8. Art says

    Where are the GOB now? Where are the founding fathers now? This is a community problem. It should be up to the community leaders to convince Bundy to follow the rule of law. That is what the founding fathers would do. It is up to:
    Cresent Hardy – elected official
    Theron Jensen – Friends of Our Founding Fathers leader & LDS church official
    Mark Wier – elected offical
    Kraig Hafen- LDS church official

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  9. Amy says

    Bundy’s actions are just like the irresponsible property owners along Mesquite Boulevard. They just let their property get trashy then they leave it for someone to clean up. The truth is the myths of the pioneers, the cowboys, the ranchers are usually not entirely the truth and a lot of them are just robber barons out to get what they can. Bundy and the property owners in Mesquite fit into the last category.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  10. Rob says

    Bundy is an embarrassment to the entire local Mormon community. He reminds us all of the corruption that has occurred in this community because some people don’t want to follow the law.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  11. jason says

    Cliven Bundy is just doing the same as the owner of the Mark Wier Heritage house. Ignoring the law and thumbing their noses at law abiding citizens. Mayor Wier won’t even enforce the laws on the books.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • rheades says

      Why do you keep blaming Wier,Holecheck and every other mayor before him the chance to tear down this eye sore.Put blame where it’s due,not on someone who walked into it.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • Gardenia Gal says

        Rheades has a point. Bashing Mayor Wier and former Mayor Holecheck is a little unfair when they are only part of leadership. I’m not sure how much power the mayor actually has on some of these issues.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        • John Williams says

          Please see my column on advocacy for a leader for Mesquite. However, current elected officials SHOULD be held accountable for doing their job – and that job includes enforcing the laws and zoning ordinances. The blame for the Cow situation lies directly with one person – Bundy! and also with various government agencies for not enforcing those laws and statutes. However, Bundy has made numerous legal challenges to those laws – and has lost on every single one. NOW it is time to enforce the court orders and make him pay for the costs of his frivolous legal positions and the costs of removing the cattle.

          VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  12. Dogman says

    This community will never succeed if the so-called “pioneers” don’t stop acting like everything belongs to them just for the taking. Elected officials must stand up and put this craziness to an end. Someone commented “why blame Cresent Hardy or Mark Wier?” My answer would be because we elected them to take care of problems for us. People expect our Congress to fix difficult problems, well I expect our local elected officials to do the same. They should be out there at the sprawling Bundy ranch right now.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  13. says

    Instead of fighting Bundy, why don’t we all get a couple of cows and turn them loose on the BLM land, harvest them in the fall and have a great Mesquite meat festival. What a show! If Bundy can get away with it, why not the rest of us?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Ralph Drake says

      Sounds like a plan, BUT were not GOB’s. They would throw our asses in jail, without a second thought.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  14. Anne says

    I hope officials fix this cow problem before it ends up in people getting shot like what happen at a council meeting in Pennsylvania. Then what will our local leaders say?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  15. Kathy says

    If you think about it rationally, Bundy is nothing more than a petty thief.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  16. Mitch Mabee says

    Wow things haven’t changed much. The same nature Nazi’s that harbor so much contempt for their fellow man are still peddling the same travesty: That the desert tortoise is being slaughtered by, well everything that doesn’t wear bicycle pants or play the didgeridoo. I remember 1989 when we came up against the BLM, Sierra Club and Earth First people (lovely folks the Earth 1st’ers) regarding the Barstow to Vegas race. The tortoise was at that time dying from motorcycles. We hired an independent biologist to examine the race course, locate the tortoise nest with the idea of moving the course away from the nests. All he could find were two abandoned nests. They still didn’t let us run race we were totally out financed.

    But the casinos developers on the other side were taking notes and were not lacking funds. First thing they did is approach the Sierra Club and express their concern for the environment . They had a couple of million in a trust they wanted to use for environmental causes and were looking for someone to manage the funds. The Sierra Club was nice enough to volunteer to manage the money. When it came time to break ground on their casino ventures they were given a number of tortoises they were required to relocate and they could bulldoze the rest. Apparently cash is a little more important then the tortoise. Not to mention that the future of the tortoise is bleak because of two serious apolitical problems: 1. The raven 2. respiratory disease. But the truth makes for poor political hot buttons.

    I couldn’t help but notice that the author of this article wasted no time alerting readers to the color of the Bundy’s skin to let everyone know its okay to hate them.
    A persons dependence on a strong centralized govt is in direct proportion to the contempt they have for their fellow man.
    I would hope when somebody moves in next door to me that has different hobbies then I do or makes his living differently than I do, I would have a little more tolerance and a little more understanding.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  17. Don Muse says

    Wow!! the blame game always gets to blaming the LDS church for all the bad things in this Valley.
    The Bundy case was handled properly, according to Federal Law. Bundy is clearly wrong as the Federal Courts have decided.
    The real problem here is that at the last minute before Bundy’s cattle are to be removed Politics enters into the case. U.S. Senator Harry Reid intervenes and the final execution of the Court order is delayed. This is widely published in the Media.
    Nothing in this story mentions Reid’s involvement by getting a delay until Bundy can get another appeal in Court. Not in the Story itself or any of the wild comments. What it does is surface all the LDS church haters who gravitate to an opportunity to blame every thing on the Mormons.
    Wier, Kraig Hafen, Cresent Hardy, Theron Jensen have nothing to do with this case. Its not in their jurisdiction or responsibility, it would probably be a conflict of interest/appearance of impropriety if it they did intervene.
    Don Muse

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  18. Martin says

    Sorry to say Mr. Muse, you are dead wrong. That is exactly what community leaders do – try to resolve COMMUNITY problems before they get out of control. Bundy is LDS so why should LDS leaders not try to help him resolve this problem? The mayor, Kraig Hafen and Cresent Hardy are LDS and elected officials so why should they not help our community. If this problem with Bundy gets bad, our community will look stupid and worse, like a bunch of hillbilly wackos. Mesquite will be right up there with Waco, Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma City. Our local officials, including church leaders, should be working tirelessly to resolve this legally and peacefully. If they are not , they are failing in their duties. You are wrong, Mr. Muse.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  19. D.Hoss says

    This man is a Morman and threatening to kill?

    His cattle are illegal and should be removed,this is NOT settler times we have laws and he needs to follow them. And he needs his personally owned items auctioned off to pay what he owes, the IRS and Govt would do that to us wouldn’t they.

    Dang welfare ranchers

    Good riddence

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  20. says

    I also notice that hardly any wild burros that I used to see around Gold Butte are anymore to be seen. Wonder if defiant Bundy has anything to do with this. So deplorable that he has been allowed to continue to despoil the public lands and natural ecosystem here!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  21. Linda Taschereau says

    Despicable ! ! I hate crap like this going on ,, it is truly unfathomable the injustice problem with dirty gov .workers NEED to clean the WHOLE system asap

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  22. Dave Schumacher says

    Usually I do not comment when I read articles, but I think I have to here. I live in Texas. Do you all know that when Texas entered statehood, the federal government got none of Texas’s land? Do you know that, in every other state before Texas did not give up any of their sovereign land to the feds? Do you all know that in the US Constitution, in Article I, section 8, it is forbidden for the federal government to “own large land plots? Here is the text:
    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; Just get your mind around that.
    How could the federal government take 85 percent of your land in Nevada without amending the constitution. This becomes the starting point – history.
    The family in question has ranged their cattle on that land for near 150 years. When BLM was formed, they payed their fees. There were many ranchers in Nevada doing the same thing. As I hear, this is the last man standing. WHY?
    Because of a Tortoise, that, by the way, eats cow dung as it is full of needed nutrients that are already semi masticated. They need the cows. Because of an “endangered” tortoise, the BLM demanded they reduce their herd from 1,000 to 150. They had no way to make a living. They may not be in the right on this issue, but maybe the government has an agenda here. Do all of you trust your federal government?
    One last point. (I am not trying to be argumentative here, really.) Go online, all of you, and ‘google’ UN Agenda 21. Our government has signed on to this 100 percent. Happened in 1992, George H.W. Bush. The whole federal government as dictated by Clinton must use this as their dogma in future America. PLEASE go look at this. You can read the actual documents as written by the United Nations. This is why the government wants the Bundy’s off the land. Now it is government lands, later it will be all open lands.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Brooke says

      The situation in Nevada is not all comparable to Texas, which was actually its own country before it joined the union.

      The Feds owned ALL of what is now Nevada as a Territory before the settlers petitioned for statehood. Pesky historical facts. Bundy’s ancestors were allowed to use the land – then the owners (the Feds) decided users should pay fees – which he and his ancestors did until the early 90s when he decided to break the law.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  23. Phil says

    Where were all of you keyboard heros last weekend? All we saw in the news was hundreds and hundreds of Americans’ supporting the Bundy family. Why didn’t any of you tough talkers wander over there to teach them good ole boys a lesson? Why not go over and preach to them about how wrong they are?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Trackbacks

Have Something to Say?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Commenting requires a valid email address that will not be published.

Comments are NOT moderated by Lets Talk Nevada. Our goal is to generally allow anonymity to the poster if it is requested and NOT to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed when reported.

Click here for Full comments policy.