LAS VEGAS, Jan. 11, 2018 — Conservation groups today called on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to round up and remove the cattle of rancher Cliven Bundy, who has been illegally grazing his livestock on public lands for two and a half decades.
U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro on Monday dismissed all charges against Cliven Bundy and his sons related to the 2014 Bunkerville standoff. Navarro, however, did not exonerate Cliven Bundy for his continued illegal grazing on public lands in Nevada, including Gold Butte National Monument.
In 2013 a federal judge ordered the Bureau of Land Management to round up Bundy’s trespassing livestock on public lands within desert tortoise habitat. Today, decades after Cliven Bundy stopped paying his grazing fees and had his permit revoked, the illegal ranching operation continues.
“Bundy is still an outlaw when it comes to his grazing actions, and the prosecutorial failings in the Bunkerville case do not excuse him from the decades of unauthorized livestock trespass on our public lands,” said Greta Anderson, deputy director of Western Watersheds Project. “BLM needs to enforce the law and remove his cattle, which are destroying habitat for threatened species.”
The court ruled in 1998 and again in 2013 that Bundy or the BLM must round up hundreds of livestock currently roaming 750,000 acres near the Nevada-Arizona line. Much of the land that Bundy illegally grazes on is now protected as Gold Butte National Monument, established by President Barack Obama in 2016. Bundy owes more than $1 million in grazing fees, according to federal officials.
“The Trump administration is coddling violent zealots and preventing the public from feeling safe to enjoy our new national monument,” said Patrick Donnelly, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Nevada state director. “Zinke needs to stop this illegal grazing, which amounts to theft from the American people and future generations. Our government can’t allow Bundy to claim our protected public lands as his personal empire and defend his theft with force and intimidation.”
“Nothing in yesterday’s ruling absolves BLM of its duty to protect public lands on behalf of the American people. BLM must remove Bundy’s trespassing cattle,” said Chris Krupp of WildEarth Guardians. “We will continue to call for the roundup of Bundy’s cattle until BLM meets its obligation.”
“The feds shouldn’t avoid the chance now to ensure that some justice is served to the American public that is being robbed by this family. Gold Butte and the desert tortoise still deserve protection,” said Kirsten Stade of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Click here to view today’s letter to Secretary Zinke.
Click here to see a chronological factsheet of the Bundy’s illegal grazing operations and attempts to rein them in.
Click here to read the federal court order directing Bundy to remove his cattle by November 30, 1998.
Click here to read the 2013 federal court order entitling BLM to remove Bundy’s cattle.
The mission of Western Watersheds Project is to protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives, and legal advocacy.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
WildEarth Guardians is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects and restores the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and the health of the American West.
PEER protects the public employees who protect the environment.