LAND

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

State of­fi­cials ar­gue that the fed­eral agency is herd­ing ru­ral Western­ers off the land by tight­en­ing re­stric­tions, many of them driven by the En­dan­gered Species Act, as well as lax man­age­ment.

At last year’s West­ern Gov­er­nors’ As­so­ci­a­tion meet­ing, Mon­tana Gov. Steve Bul­lock, a Demo­crat, linked wild­fires to fed­eral land man­age­ment of the forests. “There’s a real high de­gree of frus­tra­tion when it comes to man­age­ment of our fed­eral for­est lands,” he said.

Many states added to the union dur­ing the 1800s were largely fed­er­ally owned, but the govern­ment was ac­tively try­ing to give land to home­stead­ers and set­tlers. By the early 1900s, when West­ern states were still new to the union, the fo­cus be­gan to shift to con­ser­va­tion of pub­lic lands.

In 1976, Congress touched off the first Sage­brush Re­bel­lion by ap­prov­ing the Fed­eral Land Pol­icy and Man­age­ment Act, which de­clared that fed­eral land within state bor­ders would re­main un­der fed­eral con­trol un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Ad­vo­cates on both sides have been ar­gu­ing over the le­gal­i­ties ever since. Ad­vo­cates of fed­eral land in­sist that the is­sue is set­tled, but crit­ics call for Congress to treat West­ern states the same as other states.

“You don’t change these solemn com­pacts of state­hood as the Supreme Court unan­i­mously said in 2009 by a uni­lat­eral pol­icy from Congress,” Mr. Ivory said at the de­bate.

On Fri­day, about two dozen mem­bers and sup­port­ers of the Bundy fam­ily filed with the Clark County sher­iff crim­i­nal com­plaints against fed­eral agents. Ac­cu­sa­tions in­cluded as­sault and threats with a deadly weapon, ac­cord­ing to the Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal.

Mr. Bundy, 68, lost sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic sup­port two weeks ago when he won­dered aloud whether black Amer­i­cans were “bet­ter off as slaves” than on pub­lic as­sis­tance and said black so­cial mis­ery to­day was “be­cause they never learned how to pick cot­ton.” He did not ac­com­pany his son Am­mon Bundy and oth­ers in fil­ing the com­plaints.

“We ex­pect the sher­iff to in­ves­ti­gate the crimes,” said Am­mon Bundy, who was hit with a stun gun dur­ing an April 9 clash with BLM agents at the ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., ac­cord­ing to the Las Ve­gas Re­view Jour­nal.

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