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Thursday, April 10. 2014
Coase’s Tortoise - Federal bureaucracy gets in the way of complex ongoing relationships that serve civil society. Most people have heard of Coase's famous theorem, but don't really know it. A quote:
If the Desert Tortoise (a fine critter, for sure, and one the Indians liked to cook for supper) survived the buffalo, why not the cattle?
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It is all about control by the few that think they know everything. I all ways ask them to explain why the Great Lakes have coral reefs in them.
It is not about the turtle. It is about fracking leases. It is all a power grab and built on a lie. Is it dangerous overreach...
Harry Reid, Harry Reid, Harry Reid. And a solar garden involving his son. Geez. Get this guy out of office.
And what about the huge desert solar plant that's baking the tortoises and frying the birds? That's ok but cattle are not?
The Bundy family has a blog.
My thinking is that this is an assault on traditional Nevada values just as much it is about the recent sale of the oil leases, the grazing fees owed, and nominally about the tortoises. Heck, the idiotic burros pestering everybody at my son's post office in Blue Diamond, NV are protected, bite people and are periodically "culled" by BLM. Um, whatever! Correct me if I am wrong but I think there was a culling of tortoises a few years ago in that area.
This morning on the news it was pointed out that more than 80% of Nevada is federally owned. How exactly would any of these ranchers be able to graze their cattle successfully in a desert environment without having access to some of this land? The federal government pretty much decided that these ranchers were not necessary and forced them off with grazing fees. FYI, the rancher in question did not have a problem paying grazing fees to Nevada or the county...it was when the federal government got involved and made the ranchers' lives difficult over a perceived 'tortoise problem' that he refused to give in.
Also, it was pointed out yesterday on Megyn Kelly's program that Harry Reid managed to get the borders of this protected piece of land changed in order to accommodate a business friend of his. I am sure that did not sit well with these ranchers who have slowly been squeezed out of the area.
I think there is something wrong with the 'rules' when a long-time rancher whose family built their lives around ranching in this particular area of Nevada for over 140 year is suddenly unable to make a living due to the government's intrusion. He had 900 cattle on over 300,000 acres. This was destructive? Ridiculous.
From what I have read, Bundy does not have clean hands here. He has not payed the rent on his lease with the BLM for 20 years and has lost every legal battle. If it was private land he would have been long gone. Meanwhile his claims to remain on BLM managed ground are downright looney.
Having said that, the government's actions have been reprehensible. 200 armed guards? Snipers trained on the Bundy family? Beating the snot out of one of his sons?
The desert tortoise is just a handy weapon. Convenient when government needs to push people around, a nuisance when the well connected need property.
Reid once redrew the lines on the map, moving tortoise habitat with the stroke of a pen so a crony could develop property.
“In Addition, While The Private Owner Controlled All 42,842 Acres, The Federal Government Had Retained Title To Almost A Third Of Those Acres To Maintain A Preserve For The Desert Tortoise, Nevada’s State Reptile, Which Is Shielded By The Endangered Species Act.” (Chuck Neubauer and Richard T. Cooper, “Desert Connections,” Los Angeles Times, 8/20/06)
• “Whittemore began to push for the title to — and unrestricted use of — the tortoise habitat in the middle of the site. He argued that moving the tortoise preserve to the eastern edge of the site, where it would abut federal land, would help the desert tortoise and remove an impediment to his project.” (Chuck Neubauer and Richard T. Cooper, “Desert Connections,” Los Angeles Times, 8/20/06)
• “In 1999, regional officials of the Interior Department refused, saying that only Congress could approve moving the preserve. Over the next five years, Whittemore bombarded the government with proposals.” (Chuck Neubauer and Richard T. Cooper, “Desert Connections,” Los Angeles Times, 8/20/06)
• “Finally, in 2004, the Bureau of Land Management agreed to give him title to nearly 10,000 acres of tortoise land in the middle of his site in exchange for equal acreage along the fringes. They called the swap a ‘minor’ boundary adjustment.” (Chuck Neubauer and Richard T. Cooper, “Desert Connections,” Los Angeles Times, 8/20/06)
“Neither Sen. Reid Nor Leif Reid Played A Role In Getting The Tortoise Preserve Relocated, Whittemore Said.” (Chuck Neubauer and Richard T. Cooper, “Desert Connections,” Los Angeles Times, 8/20/06)
“Today, With The Obstacles Gone And Construction Under Way, Whittemore’s Efforts Seem To Have Paid Off.” (Chuck Neubauer and Richard T. Cooper, “Desert Connections,” Los Angeles Times, 8/20/06)
I’m sure Reid knew nothing about the illegal donations to his campaign. Reid and Whittemore are simply longtime friends. Yeah right. And I’m a billionaire."
From what I understand, BLM's intimidation tactics are old hat.
I guess you are not familiar with states that have open range grazing laws? This means, where there is a designated 'open range' area, you can let your cattle graze. There are still places in the U.S. where these laws apply...if you live in such an area, you might see cattle roaming across your property and munching on your lawn. It does cause some headaches, but people should know better when they buy land in open range areas that this is a possibility.
I will bet you 100% that Nevada had open range laws that this man was taking advantage of, which was legal...until the feds got involved. It has been stated that he paid grazing fees to the county/state with no problems and no complaints. I am not sure what the difference is in grazing fees the state wanted vs. the government, but the fact that every other cattle rancher around this man left the area, tells you it was not possible to continue ranching in that area with the federal government intruding.
I get that the man lost court cases, but I still point to the fact that this man's family has been ranching this land since 1870. I do feel that he does have some 'right' here that should supersede a desert tortoise...his family's livelihood is based on having a certain amount of land available for grazing without excessive fees put upon him. I would think there could've been a better way to deal with this...perhaps someone should look into the costs of raising cattle in this area and how much of a financial burden the federal government was putting on this rancher. Could it be the fees were so expensive as to make it impossible for this man to continue his business? These are questions I'd like to have answered before I dump on the rancher.
Reminds me of the enclosure of the commons in England which drove many villagers into poverty, but was touted as being progressive at the time.
"If the Desert Tortoise (a fine critter, for sure, and one the Indians liked to cook for supper) survived the buffalo, why not the cattle? "
The desert tortoise has thrived and/or coexisted with the cattle for over 100 years. A fact that the idiot judge who agreed that the feds had proved their case that the cattle were endangering the toroise apparently did not notice, or cared not to notice. The argument that the cows endanger the tortoise are complete andf utter B.S..
Losing this type of case in a federal court doesn't mean you were wrong- it generally means the cards are stacked against you and you're going to lose in court no matter what.
The plot thickens:
Breaking: Sen. Harry Reid Behind BLM Land Grab of Bundy Ranch
"The Bureau of Land Management, whose director was Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) former senior adviser, has purged documents from its web site stating that the agency wants Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle off of the land his family has worked for over 140 years in order to make way for solar panel power stations.
Another BLM report entitled Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone (BLM Technical Note 444) reveals that Bundy’s land in question is within the “Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone and surrounding area” which is part of a broad U.S. Department of Energy program for “Solar Energy Development in Six Southwestern States” on land “managed” by BLM.
Back in 2012, the New American reported that Harry Reid’s son, Rory Reid, was the chief representative for a Chinese energy firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada.
And journalist Marcus Stern with Reuters also reported that Sen. Reid was heavily involved in the deal as well."
Well knock me over with a feather. Why am I not surprised?
A reader elsewhere on the site posted the live feed for this continuing standoff.