The cattle impound operation ended April 12, 2014.
Read a statement from BLM Director Neil Kornze about the operation here.
Q. Why are BLM and NPS removing cattle?
A. Allowing individuals to continue illegal trespass grazing on federal lands is a matter of fairness to thousands of ranchers whose livestock graze in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations throughout the west.
Impoundments of livestock are done only as a last resort. In this case, the BLM and the National Park Service (NPS) have made repeated attempts to resolve the matter with Mr. Bundy administratively and judicially for over 20 years. Mr. Bundy has also failed to comply with multiple court orders to remove his cattle from the federal lands and to end the illegal trespass.
The BLM and NPS are working closely with local, state and federal officials to ensure the impoundment occurs safely and in a transparent and orderly manner, and with limited disruption to other users and visitors who enjoy our nation’s public lands.
Q. Why are these considered trespass cattle?
A. The lands where the cattle are trespassing are not Mr. Bundy’s private lands. They are public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service. Two District Court Judges have held that Mr. Bundy has no legal right to graze the federal lands, and he has been permanently enjoined from grazing these lands and ordered to remove his cattle. Mr. Bundy's claim that he has a historic right to graze the federal lands was rejected by the court. The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada ruled that “The Court has stated unequivocally on numerous occasions that . . . the Allotment is owned by the United States and managed by the DOI through the BLM and the NPS.”
Q. Are there other public land ranchers in Southern Nevada?
A. Yes. Ranching continues throughout Southern Nevada on public and private lands. The BLM currently administers three active grazing allotments on public lands in Southern Nevada and nearly 800 allotments in the State of Nevada as a whole. Nationwide, the BLM administers nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases on 157 million acres of public lands.
Q. What is the legal authority here?
A. In July and October 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada ordered Cliven Bundy to remove his trespass cattle from public land inside and outside the former Bunkerville Allotment within 45 days and stated that the United States is authorized to seize and impound any cattle that remain in trespass after 45 days.
Q. Will trespass cattle be rounded up on private land in the impoundment area?
A. No. Only cattle found on federal lands will be impounded.
Q. Where will the cattle be taken after they are impounded?
A. In order to ensure the safety of the public and personnel involved with the impoundment, the BLM and NPS will be implementing temporary and limited closures during the operations. Areas temporarily closed to public access will be posted with appropriate signage. The BLM and NPS will also provide daily updated information about the impoundment and closure areas on their websites. Please note that we are making every effort to minimize the impacts on public land users while the impound operations are underway and we regret any inconveniences this may cause.
A. Consistent with state law and administrative process, branded cattle will be offered back to the owner or owners of record and any estray cattle will be turned over to the Nevada Department of Agriculture.
Q. What areas of public land will be closed during the impoundment?