Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Malheur occupation impacts linger throughout the West

...The Malheur occupation as well as the standoff between the Bureau of Land Management and supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in 2014 galvanized the nationwide Patriot movement and the West-based Sagebrush Rebellion. Most ranchers disagree with the Bundys’ actions, but some were inspired by the displays of bravado and vowed to make their own stands against the federal government. IN NEW MEXICO, a rancher who visited the Malheur refuge during the occupation and threatened to terminate his grazing contract with the Forest Service, is now all paid up. Forest Service District Ranger Diane Taliaferro said in an interview last week that rancher Adrian Sewell’s permit was never cancelled and he has continued to pay his fees on time. IN UTAH , the base level of vitriol around land management is often a level above most other places in the West. And the current battle over whether to create a Bears Ears National Monument in the southeast corner of the state is riling residents again, opening the festering wound of the 1996 designation of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. A new group launched last December to mediate conflicts between ranchers and the government. Just weeks after the group formed, the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur refuge began, fueling tensions with the feds in Utah and elsewhere. In February, eight ranchers reportedly agreed to sign letters denying federal authority to regulate grazing. Johnson, in one of the grazing working group's first meetings asked the ranchers not to send in the letters. “That’s not the way to go,” he told them “Please give me a year or two before you do anything drastic.” Johnson doesn’t know if what he said had a direct impact on the ranchers, but he asked federal staffers in June if they ever received one of those letters and they said they had not. IN NEVADA,, the Bureau of Land Management has continued to deal with illegal grazing, while trying to avoid high-profile conflicts with ranchers.  Cliven Bundy’s cattle are still grazing illegally, and in 2015, ranchers Eddyann and Dan Filippini followed suit by releasing cattle onto land that the federal agency had closed due to drought. The BLM says the cattle are grazing legally. The agency reportedly struck a deal with them in which the agency was not giving explicit permission to graze, but also would not interfere for the next three years. “We’re not going to come out there and have a big confrontation,” Nevada BLM spokesman Rudy Evenson told the Elko Daily Free Press last summer. And according to a Forest Service spokesperson, the cattle of the now-deceased sagebrush rebel, Wayne Hage, are still on the range as of this week without permits...more

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