Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bundy attorney joins public lands debate in Utah

An attorney for the family of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy joined nearly 100 local ranchers inside the Heritage Theater in Cedar City, Utah, last weekend to discuss problems and potential solutions to the controversial issue of federal management over public lands in Utah. The meeting was a "test-run" of the Western Rangelands Property Rights Workshop to be held in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, said Todd McFarlane, an attorney for the Bundy family who described the current management system as “broken” during his comments to the group. “Right off the bat today, I want to make a couple things clear,” Pratt said. “Do I agree with everything the Bundys have done? No. Do I agree with House Bill 148 and Ken Ivory? No. But they are doing things — they are standing up and doing what they think is right.” Pratt teared up when he assured the crowd he was not doing the presentations for money. “I love liberty and I love my country — and I love freedom for everyone,” he said. McFarlane recounted the 2014 Bundy standoff. “It’s all about critical mass,” he said. “There is strength in numbers, and if you have a bunch of people there, you are on pretty solid footing — if you have one or two, or half a dozen, the federal government will squish you like a bug. “We are looking for the next wave. The early adapters, the legitimizers, those people who are ready to step up to the plate and help shape grazing and land use policy in the West for the foreseeable future,” McFarlane continued. “If we don’t do it, then the federal government is going to do it.” Angus McIntosh, adjunct professor of agriculture at Texas A&M University, said he became interested in the issue after many years working for the U.S. Forest Service. “These are public lands,” McIntosh said. “By that very definition there are no rights." Ryan Bundy and fellow activist LaVoy Finicum visited Cedar City on Jan. 13 to gather support for the WRPR workshop. Finicum took the time to speak on a local radio show with host Bryan Hyde, then posted a video of the experience once back inside the wildlife refuge in Harney County, Oregon. “Ryan Bundy and myself slipped out of here and went to another state — another county that is being oppressed,” he said in the YouTube video. “They are ready to stand up and ask the federal government to leave their county. We were there to be supportive and encourage that to happen.” Iron County Commissioner David Miller confirmed he was part of the meeting with commissioners from other counties, but said it was a peaceful meeting between ranchers. “Finicum brought up some very important points that I think the citizens would do well to hear about and understand,” Miller said...more

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