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ABC News reported on Saturday, April 12, 2014, that a Nevada cattle rancher appears to have won his week-long battle with the federal government over a controversial cattle roundup that had led to the arrest of several protesters. Rancher, Cliven Bundy, whose ranch is 80 miles north of Vegas, went head to head with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the removal of hundreds of his cattle from federal land, where the government said they were grazing illegally.
The federal government, through the BLM, countered that Bundy "owes the American people in excess of $1 million " in unpaid grazing fees and "refuses to abide by the law of land, despite many opportunities over the last 20 years to do so." Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed, near Bunkerville, since 1870 and threatened a "range war" against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch website after one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle.
Bundy does not own the land, which is near his 150-acre ranch, and has paid grazing fees to the State which owns the land. Bundy says he does not recognize the federal government’s claim to the property and believes he is entitled to use the land for grazing his cattle.
The federal government simply ‘manages’ the land, and the Bureau of Land Management, does NOT own the land; therefore, he believes he owes them no additional fees. It would be like a renter paying rent to a landlord and then a ‘second fee’ to a property management company.
According to their own web site, BLM’s job is “managing livestock grazing on public rangelands. BLM’s overall objective is to ensure the long-term health and productivity of these lands and to create multiple environmental benefits that result from healthy watersheds. The Bureau administers public land ranching in accordance with the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, and in so doing provides livestock-based economic opportunities in rural communities while contributing to the West’s, and America’s, social fabric and identity. Together, public lands and the adjacent private ranches maintain open spaces in the fast-growing West, provide habitat for wildlife, offer a myriad of recreational opportunities for public land users, and help preserve the character of the rural West.”
Many Americans believe it’s just a land grab by the federal government. The land was finally declared off-limits for cattle in 1998 and became a designated habitat for the federally protected desert tortoise. That same year, a judge ordered Bundy to remove his cattle. He refused to comply. That’s not a real issue. The tortoise is so plentiful, the Federal government is destroying thousands of them.So what’s the real issue?
In 2012, questions surrounding family ties flared up in Nevada around Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He and his oldest son, Rory, were both involved in an effort by a Chinese energy giant, ENN Energy Group, to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel manufacturing plant in the southern Nevada desert.
Now problems are flaring up again. Recently, the BLM purged documents from its web site stating that the Agency wants Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle off the land his family has worked for more than 140 years in order to make way for solar panel power stations. The BLM document entitled, “Cattle Trespass Impacts” directly states that Bundy’s cattle “impacts” solar development, specifically the construction of “utility-scale solar power generation facilities” on public lands. The director of the BLM is Neil Komze, former senior adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Langfang, China-based ENN Energy Group hopes to build what would be the largest solar energy complex in America. The site chosen with Rory Reid's guidance is in tiny Laughlin, Nevada, a gambling town of 7,300 along the Colorado River.
ENN is headed by Chinese energy tycoon Wang Yusuo, who made a fortune estimated by Forbes at $2.2 billion distributing natural gas in China. Wang escorted Reid and a delegation of nine other U.S. senators on a tour of the company's clean energy operations in Langfang, and Reid featured Wang as a speaker at his 4th annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas in 2011.
Even more controversy stems from the fact that Clark County officials voted to sell ENN the public land for $4.5 million, a figure startlingly below the $38.6-million appraisal. Conveniently, Sen. Reid has been one of ENN’s most prominent supporters, and his influence in the Chinese company has been so compelling that, according to Reuters, in 2012, he tried to “pressure Nevada’s largest power company, NV Energy, to sign up as ENN’s first customer.”
It appears that the Senate Majority leader is pushing ranchers out of their homes as well as underselling American real estate to Chinese Communists,