Armed federal agents are surrounding the property of Bunkersville, Nev. cattle rancher Cliven Bundy.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Land Management claims that Bundy has allowed his cows to graze illegally on government land for over 20 years, which is endangering the desert tortoise, a protected species.
However, Bundy refuses to recognize the BLM's 1993 ruling to protect the tortoise because he says his family’s history on the land trumps federal law (video below).
“My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley ever since 1877," Bundy told 8 News. "All these rights I claim have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and water. I have been here longer. My rights are before the BLM even existed."
"I've tried to pay it to Nevada state, to Clark County. They have some of my money in their coffers right now, but I'm not going to pay money for the wrong landlord, and I am not going to pay my money to BLM to manage me out of business," added Bundy. "The federal government has seized Nevada's sovereignty, Nevada's statehood. They have seized Nevada's laws and our public land. We have no access to our public land and that is only a little bit of it."
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Now, the BLM is planning to round up his herd and sell the cattle.
"I've fought this thing legally," Bundy warned. "I've fought it politically. I've fought it through the media. and I will fight it on the ground if I have to."
“The rights were created for us,” Bundy told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “I have the right to use the forage. I have water rights. I have access rights. I have range improvement rights, and I claim all the other rights that the citizens of Nevada have, whether it’s to camp, to fish or to go off road.”
Sources: Las Vegas Review Journal and 8 News