Amodei: Rancher dispute poorly handled
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said the BLM’s handling of the battle over grazing fees with Southern Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy was both “poorly planned and poorly executed.
“I told them you have taken an enforcement action with somebody who probably broke the rules and turned them into an urban hero,” he said at the Carson City Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
“If you really wanted the guy’s money, wait till he goes to auction (with his cattle) and put a lien on them,” he said. “Let him round the cattle up. You’ve got a million dollars’ worth of free grazing. I’m betting he didn’t report that on his taxes. Sic the IRS on them.”
Amodei asked that after some 20 years of arguing with Bundy, who has refused to pay any grazing fees, “why now?”
That wasn’t Amodei’s only complaint with how federal land and environmental management agencies work. He cited the furor over whether to list the sage grouse, sage hen, as endangered, pointing out that the Fish and Wildlife Service has been leaning on the states and local officials saying, as he put it, “when are you guys going to fix all of that.”
“Wait a minute,” Amodei said. “You guys (the feds) own the vast majority of the habitat. It’s your land. You should be in the leadership role in funding it.”
He said he and other members of congress are now telling the Department of the Interior “to ask for the money to do the work to restore the sage hen habitat.”
Amodei repeated his mantra that partisan politics in Washington, D.C., far too often takes precedence over getting something done. He pointed to the Yerington land bill that will enable a major mining operation and create 700-800 jobs that pay an average of $75,000 a year.
“Here we have a piece of legislation that nobody’s opposed to,” he said. “Then you run into the culture of political sport.”
He said there are answers to many problems including public lands and health care, but not in a political climate like that in Washington these days.
Amodei said that when people say they want to run for Congress, voters should ask them, “Are you going to work on the issues or are you going to work on being a good donkey or elephant?”
He said the answers are there if people are willing to drop the partisan political rhetoric and look for actual solutions.