Standoff Between Government and Herders in Nevada

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Back in 2014, Cliven Bundy failed to obey an order from the federal government in handing over his cattle that had trespassed a restricted land. This led to a standoff between the way Americans use public lands and the federal government. Three years later, the victim will have his day in court. He is expected to appear in court on Tuesday, and the trial will take place in a federal court in Las Vegas. At the same time, a lot of people and groups are closely monitoring the case because it will most likely set a precedence of how public owned land is managed. At the moment, public land in America is approximated to be around 640 million acres. This land includes conservation areas, wildlife refuges, and national parks. Should the defendant receive a guilty verdict, it will be an indication that Washington is not willing to relent on how it controls this land. However, an acquittal will give more power to the people who continue to ignore the rules that govern the public land. A law professor at the University of Nevada known as Ian Bartrum says that the case had helped raise the concerns whether land protection is something that falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Mr. Bundy is currently 71-years-old. Many people have seen his case as a rallying point. He has helped renew the debate for those that see that the government has an outreach when it comes to public land. For instance, in West America, it’s approximated that over 50 percent of the land is owned by the government. The family of the defendant has ranched in the region for centuries. However, he decided to stop paying grazing fees when the government announced new grazing rules back in the 1990s. As a result, he owes the government over $1 million in debt. Federal agents made the decision to confiscate his cattle back in 2014 as an effort to recover some of the federal money. The family has rallied for support using social media. Protests at the Nevada highway that has seen the attendance of militiamen and cowboys has been organized through Facebook by the help of the defendant’s wife. At the moment, the defendant has been charged with 12 felonies. This includes an assault on a federal officer and conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States. The defendant’s lawyers claim that his client was practicing free speech.

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