More than 200 armed federal agents and snipers were deployed on Tuesday to forcibly remove the cattle of a Nevada rancher – signaling a dangerous escalation in the two-decade long constitutional land dispute over an endangered tortoise.
Cliven Bundy, the last rancher in Clark County, Nevada, has been battling the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) since 1993 when he refused to pay for the right to graze on the 600,000-acre Gold Butte land he says his family have owned since the 1870s.
Claiming that the government has ‘brought everything but tanks and rocket launchers’, Bundy said his livelihood is being taken away from him by agents carrying, ‘Automatic weapons, sniper rifles, top communication, top surveillance.’
‘The battle’s been going on for 20 years,’ Bundy told theWashington Free Beacon from his ranch 75 miles outside of Las Vegas.
‘What’s happened the last two weeks, the United States government, the bureaus are getting this army together and they’re going to get their job done and they’re going to prove two things.
‘They’re going to prove they can do it, and they’re gonna prove that they have unlimited power, and that they control the policing power over this public land. That’s what they’re trying to prove.’
The dispute between Bundy and the federal government dates to 1993, when land managers cited concern for the federally protected tortoise and capped Bundy’s herd at 150 animals on a 250-square-mile rangeland allotment.