The following letter to Nevada Congressman Mark Amodei was recently published in the Elko Daily Free Press, documenting increasing hostility and problems working with the BLM under the Obama Administration.
Dear Mark (Congressman Amodei):
From the “Blade”
I have been involved with the BLM and Forest Service for at least 65 years. Up until about 10 years ago they were reasonable and easy to work with. During the years of the Obama Administration they have become increasingly hostile to multiple uses of the public lands. They have in a number of cases moved to remove livestock from the public lands and now the Forest Service is trying to take vested stock water rights and control the use of ground water.
The case of the Tomeras and Fillippinis is the most grievous of their unlawful tactics. I believe they are not following the Constitution of the State of Nevada when they issue a full force and effect decision without due process of law. A due process of law as provided in our State Constitution means a hearing before depriving us of our life, liberty, or property.
After the first Grass Tour there was enough pressure put on the BLM to enable the ranchers to turn their cattle out on the range. As a condition of letting the cattle graze on the Argenta Allotment there was a stipulation in the agreement requiring the cattle to be removed from the range if certain stubble high was reached on the riparian areas and the uplands.
It was a known; the stubble height on the riparian areas might be reached, before the uplands were subject to heavier grazing use. It was the feeling of the ranchers, their range consultants and myself that the BLM was going to have the very small riparian areas fenced before they reached the minimum stubble height. This outcome was even advanced by Doug Furtado at a meeting that I attended when he said the BLM would supply the material for the fencing of the riparian areas.
This was only a tactic on his part to somehow give the ranchers, range consultants, myself, the Lander County Commissioners, and others that he was indeed cooperating to keep the livestock on the range. This was just one more of his sneaky maneuvers to enable him to please his friends from Western Watershed and reach his final goal of removing all cattle from the Argenta Unit and indeed the entire Battle Mountain district. When asked by a permittee why the out of control horse numbers were not being reduced his reply was “I will not remove a horse until all the cattle are gone.”
The Nevada State Director, Amy Lueders has also praised Furtado for his cooperation with the permittees, which leads me to believe she is also not a friend of the livestock industry and has the same motives as Western Watershed.
At the meeting which you attended in Winnemucca we heard other stories of the BLM trying to blackmail the permittees into taking voluntary reductions of their AUMs. If they did not agree to the voluntary reductions, they would be served with a full force and effect decision. These tactics may also be spilling over into the Carson City and Elko districts.
If 40 or 50 years ago I was told of what public land users are facing today, I would have said “NO Way.” The only way to turn this tide is with Congressional action. Congressional action must reign in the tactics of not only BLM and Forest Service but also EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service and Corps of Engineers.
If Grant Gerber was alive today he would tell Neil Kornze, BLM Director he has a real mess in Nevada, he needs to clean house and get the BLM back on track as to what they were established for and that is to adhere to the principles of multiple use of our public lands.
Thank you for your understanding and knowledge of the dangers facing rural Nevada and we wish you success in your endeavor to help us all.
John C. Carpenter