Skip to comments.Hold your horses: Nevada standoff reveals bigger fight over federally owned land
Posted on 05/05/2014 8:58:27 AM PDT by jazusamo
DENVER Behind the hoopla surrounding Nevada rancher Cliven Bundys standoff with the Bureau of Land Management is a growing resentment over the federal governments status as the largest landowner in the West.
This is so much bigger than one rancher in Nevada, Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory, who heads the American Lands Council, said in an April 23 online debate sponsored by The Salt Lake Tribune.
How much land does the federal government own? A 2012 Congressional Research Survey said the federal government owns about 640 million acres, or 28 percent of the nations land mass. Roughly 90 percent of that property is in the West.
Put another way, one out of every two acres in the West is federally owned. In Nevada, the figure is 81.1 percent; in Alaska, 61.8 percent; in Utah, 66.5 percent; in Oregon, 53 percent. In Connecticut and Iowa, the federal government owns 0.3 percent of the land.
The federal estate is larger than France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom combined, said Robert Gordon, a senior adviser for the Heritage Foundation. It is too big and was never intended to be preserved as one big park, but the left is strangling use of it and with it, rural America.
Although Nevada has received most of the national attention since Mr. Bundys clash last month with BLM agents, the heaviest push to wrest control of federal lands is coming from Utah. In 2012, Gov. Gary Richard Herbert, a Republican, signed a bill demanding that the federal government relinquish control of more than 20 million acres of federal land within Utahs borders by 2015.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
Frankly, I think the Federal Government has no rights whatsoever to land unless it has purchased it from the original owners. Further, to take over land once owned by states and to work under the guise of ‘managing’ it and then imposing dictatorial regulation of it is theft in my opinion. The more you give this government, the more they take from you.
The author is a little bit late. Any thinking person knew this was not about Bundy from day one .that it was always about the BLM, their private army, and just WTF is the Fed Gov doing owning 28% of the nation anyway?
Amen...The 640 million acres owned by the feds equals 1 million square miles, that’s not only ridiculous but criminal.
If the States can prevail in taking this land from the Federal Government, the States would then be empowered to lease the land and grant Licenses to “DRILL”. The Obama Admin. will fight this until the last EPA or Energy Department Employee Employee is still standing.
You are so right. Unfortunately so many non-thinking people think this is about a rich racist rancher that wants to graze his cattle at the expense of taxpayers and tortoises.
yeah, including Sean Hannity ...
I wouldn’t characterize people as non-thinking because they don’t understand the basic mechanism. It has been this way for what, at least a century, more or less?
Most people who don’t have a stake in it (even if they DO have a stake, just not realizing that the issue is a Federal vs State issue that has many tentacles into far reaching areas) and it has been this way their whole lives for many of them.
Problem is that many people don’t see how this could possibly impact them so they don’t care, and the media isn’t going to educate them in any way.
And I call all of that non-thinking - maybe because all of it was patently obvious to me the first two minutes I spent on the story.
I think all of them should be in prison myself.
I personally think the constitution prohibits the federal government from owning land beyond what it needs for public use, meaning military bases, national monuments, etc. However, that could be broadly interpreted to mean just about anything, like a base that covers an entire state.
I certainly don’t see anything in the US Constitution that permits the federal government to regulate privately held land. Say you inherit property with a lake that’s been held in your family for decades, and the federal government now says you can’t build on it or alter the lake in any way. Where does it get the authority to do that? Nevertheless, that’s exactly what it’s doing.
First place to look is the US Constitution to see what it says with respect to Land the federal authority government can own. It does in two parts - one is for acquiring land and territories in Art 4, section 3 clause 2. The other is for Federal ownership of land within a State. That’s found in Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 17. To Wit:
“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, dockyards, and other needful buildings;”
Nevada is not a Territory, its a State. As such its Sovereign and owns all land within its borders. Accordingly, the only authority the Federal Government has to own land inside a State is “for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;” with “consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be,”.
It’s pretty black and white.
They are tyrants flaunting the laws and Constitution of this country. They do this because establishment RINO Republicans like Graham, McCain, Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell eagerly let them.
‘Republicans’ may keep the House and win the Senate; it will not be because of a vote from me. I am only going to vote for a real conservative, or I’ll not vote at all.
I'm gonna catch that horse if I can.
The US Government paid Mexico (owners prior to US ownership) $15 Million back in 1848 for the lands stated in the treaty of Guadalupe Hildago. Nevada was not a state at that time as it did not become a state until 1864. When Nevada became a state, their Constitution ceded any unallocated lands to the US Government.
As far as I’m concerned the land was still effectively stolen.
That's why they choose to remain non-thinking. We see this in regards to many topics. The information is available to anyone who wants to know. It is not up to the media to force an education on unwilling people. These are the people who refuse to learn the readily available truth about any and all topics that aren't directly about them. They gleefully support every atrocity on the agenda, until it becomes personal for them. I'm sure you know the type.
The article is mentioning the Utah legislation HB 148 Transfer of Public Lands Act which was written by the also mentioned Ken Ivory. So look at the details of that from 2 years ago and the subsequent legislation. Come Dec 31, 2014 the feds are supposed to conform.
This is pretty well organized beyond Utah and Ken Ivory. Another man involved is Rob Natelson. Some groups involved are Montana Policy Institute, State Policy Network, ALEC, American Lands Council. Lots of dark money funding this.
As a citizen and taxpayer, I ain't to thrilled to give all this land and assets away to these states. Who wants to be left holding the bag? Maybe they need to come up with some cash to buy it. They are planning on selling most of it to politically connected developers who will in turn sell it as mini-ranchettes and mobil home estates. If Utah wants the Grand Staircase to mine the coal, they should buy it.
This federal land grab/hold is preventing the States from tax funding. A state such as Alaska is only able to tax 3% of its total land mass. There is some convoluted process where the Feds collect "management" fees for the land and then "give back" payment to the States (skimming their share from it, I'm sure) in the form of "subsidies." Well, we've all witnessed how capable they are of "managing" these lands.
This land belongs to the States and they need to demand the return of it.
The FED underwrites its debt using federally-owned land as collateral. That’s why they need the land and everything else in the country. To sell it to bond purchasers to obtain its operating funds.
Not only to drill, but also to mine for gold, silver and other useful minerals.
In the case of Nevada and Utah the federal government took the land from the original owner - Mexico.
Further, to take over land once owned by states and to work under the guise of managing it and then imposing dictatorial regulation of it is theft in my opinion.
In none of these cases did the land originally belong to the states. In fact the states can obtain ownership of the land simply by setting a price and getting Congress to OK the sale to them.
When the Constitution was ratified the only way the federal government could get land was by buying it from the states. Starting with the Louisiana Purchase that went out the window and the federal government became the owner of millions of acres of land. The Mexican War gave it millions more, and the purchase of Alaska still additional millions. Under Article IV the feds can manage and dispose of it as they see fit.
“America is being carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey...”
That’s what they claim but I posted the black letter law. Its not a territory and the only way for the federal government to Constitutionally own land within a state is spelled out in in black and white in Art 1 section 8 clause 17. It’s a limit on the federal govt. and Article 4 does not cancel out the limitations of Art. 1. It does not conflict with it either since Art 1 sec. 8, para 17 states how the federal government can own land that is not a territory. Your point was logical fallacy - a bootstrap.
That they have gotten away with it for so long is evidence of court corruption not Constitutionality.
This issue -- now turned into a fight -- isn't merely over whether Bundy is a tax deadbeat, or the Western Desert Tortoise needs protection, or wild horses, or free rangeland, or 100+ year old treaties, or water rights (flowing or welled), or designated public land and preserves.
It is about capricious and scatter-brained government bureaucracies trying to follow their charter without a clear directive often conflicting with their own established policies and mandates, while at the same time pitted against other government agencies that operate under a counter-mandate -- or even conflicting mandates within their own agency. It's layers and layers of bewildering absurdity: BLM and US Forestry in one place may be one of the best friends a private rancher or eco-group ever had, and just a few miles away the same Federal outfits may be completely berserk in enforcing their incomprehensible policies.
Northern Nevada's PBS affiliate -- of all damned outfits -- managed to put a fairly coherent television report on the issues concerned in this battle. It's very good and is available to watch for free over the web:
Watch the PBS video: (57 mins)
Anyone who wants to at least start getting a grasp on the open rangeland issues in the Western US would do themselves a favor starting with the PBS video above. Be aware that just because it's PBS doesn't mean there's any sentimentality or schmaltz for the liberal point of view -- even if the 'wild horse' and ecological advocates paint a emotionally weepy picture of their side of the story. It's very important to know who is saying what, and know the names of the people on opposing sides at the top of the debate.
In fact, the wild horse/ecological activists decried the way they came off in the PBS video above as a bunch of out of state SF Bay Area hippies whose policies are actually hurting the wildlife they seek to protect.
Thanks for posting that link.
Communists hate private property rights.
Communists hate individual rights.
UN Communists love Agenda 21.
Or because not everyone agrees with your interpretation. By your definition all national parks are illegal since they are not included in Article I, Section 8. Land grant colleges are illegal and the Homestead Act was illegal since the government didn't own the land to give it away. The transcontinental railroad and the interstate highway system are illegal since they, too, aren't included in Article I, Section 10 and the government didn't own the property the railroads were built on.
You raise good points, all of those should revert to the States with feds retaining the authority to block toll charges and other things that would directly interfere with interstate commerce. The land grants built the states = red herring.
I simply disagree with the negative assessment of people as “non-thinking” because they don’t understand land issues relating to water and livestock in the western USA. I think the label has a derogatory overtone that I don’t feel is warranted.
I know a lot of very intelligent, hardworking and successful, and conservative people who, if you had asked them to describe this issue of federally owned land (prior to this issue arising) they would have likely said something to the effect of “I really don’t know. I have never had reason to pay attention to it.”
I can’t fault people for that. In this world, there are a huge number of issues dealing with nearly every subject under the sun.
I have a variable working knowledge of a wide variety of issues ranging from military doctrine and culture, medicine, science and aviation to various aspects of politics, history, automotive mechanics and any number of things, but I don’t doubt for a single second that there are a massive number of issues out there that are hugely important to people who are directly affected by them, but of which I have little to no knowledge.
I have to be honest. If someone discussed some aspect of legal workings and asked my opinion on it, I might be able to comment on violent crime and the judicial system, but I would be clueless on more things than I even have the capacity to imagine.
Does that make me a “non-thinking” person? Now, if I had become embroiled in some kind of legal property rights issue and it had been dragging out for my whole life and my father’s life, and I had gone to town meetings and discussed these things in depth with neighbors, then I have no doubt I would have a handle on it.
But for me to know about grazing rights in the western states...well, it just isn’t important to me, in the way beach erosion wouldn’t really have any bearing or interest to someone from Omaha.
That’s all I was referring to.
I suspect we don’t disagree that much.
I can fault people who aren’t interested in knowing how an issue like this might affect them and their rights when something like this comes to light.
But to expect someone to educate themselves on a subject like this in a vacuum is unrealistic.
In the same way a person might not have any clue about the treatment options for a glioblastoma in the brain...until they get one. Then they become an expert pretty quickly. I would probably find fault with them if they didn’t gain an understanding after that.
Much the way I would probably find fault with people who didn’t see this issue arise and become curious about it and about who is telling the truth.
Sorry, you keep missing the big picture. This has nothing to do with the bureaucratic details of land and livestock issues. You so so so so so miss the bigger point, which is WTF is the government doing with 28% ownership of the US lands in the first place, and why does some former Reid functionary have his own damned private army at his disposal???
If you can’t see that, then you too are in my class of “non thinking” people. So think about that.
I think you are missing my point. My point is that most people are unaware of that.
I am referring to the reason many people are completely unaware of the situation.
I don’t disagree with your statement about 28% ownership, etc. You seem hostile towards me about this, and I don’t disagree with you. I am simply stating that calling people who are unaware of this situation “non-thinking” is being unnecessarily harsh.
I don’t understand why you are being as hostile as you are.
I dont think I am being hostile, but I do think you are being inappropriately deferent, even namby pamby. And I do not find it excusable not to instantly understand ths bigger issue. I knew it instantly, and I’ve zero experience or interest in land and grazing issues.
I also don’t think saying people are unthinking or non-thinking is hostile. I think this was all easy, obvious, unmistakable. I am merely being honest.
Well said. That, is one nasty dangerous circle.