Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the Bureau of Land Management over the agency’s roundup of his cattle will go down in history as a high-profile clash of Old West values with today’s federal regulations on the use of public lands and natural resources.
Tensions between federal agents and states’ rights activists nearly came to violence Saturday, but by Sunday afternoon the Southern Nevada ranch at the heart of a clash over cattle and grazing rights looked more like a campground than an armed standoff.
Cliven Bundy’s fight with the Bureau of Land Management over the federal agency’s roundup of his cattle attracted a diverse group of foot soldiers: fellow ranchers, Las Vegans and militia and patriot groups were among them.
Some First Amendment supporters say “free speech zones” like those created but now dismantled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management near a controversial Southern Nevada cattle roundup are intended to stifle rather than encourage debate. Regardless of the purpose, advocates say such zones are an inappropriate infringement of free speech.
The federal roundup of Cliven Bundy’s cattle in northeastern Clark County was expected to take up to a month. In the first seven days, contract cowboys collected almost 400 animals. But while federal officials believe they have made “good progress” so far, they also agree with the embattled rancher and his family about one thing: Bringing in the rest of the cattle won’t be easy quite so easy.
The Clark County Commission is taking a look at the decorum of Commissioner Tom Collins, who fears the dispute at Cliven Bundy’s ranch that has drawn protesters from other states might turn violent and isn’t afraid to be frank about his warning.
Two brothers from St. George, Utah, were detained and cited by federal authorities Thursday afternoon as they crossed into an area closed for the ongoing roundup of “trespass cattle” on public land in northeastern Clark County.
The Bureau of Land Management quietly dismantled its so-called “First Amendment areas” in northeastern Clark County on Thursday, as the fight over Cliven Bundy’s cattle widened into a national debate about states’ rights and federal land-use policy.
Tensions mounted at the site of a federal cattle roundup in northeastern Clark County on Wednesday, as armed militia group members from Montana set up camp at Cliven Bundy’s ranch house and Bundy family members and supporters scuffled with BLM rangers.
Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday accused the Bureau of Land Management of violating Nevadans’ constitutional rights to protest a BLM roundup of cattle on federal land and slammed the agency for creating an “atmosphere of intimidation.”