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“BIG ENOUGH TO TAKE AWAY EVERYTHING YOU HAVE”

by Sharon Rondeau

The BLM Oklahoma Field Office has 70 employees and “manages” 7.4 million acres of “federally-owned land”

(Apr. 20, 2014) — A six-term state legislator and candidate for the office of Texas Agriculture Commissioner has warned that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could “seize 90,000 acres of privately owned land along the Red River” following the standoff at the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, NV last weekend.

Last Sunday, Miller called upon Texas Gov. Rick Perry to “to mobilize the Texas State Guard, if necessary, in order to prevent the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from seizing 90,000 acres of land along a 116 mile stretch of the Red River.”

Miller said that the BLM’s cessation of the “cattle gather” at the Bundy Ranch is only temporary.  He claimed that the agency’s actions are “unlawful,” “violate the Constitution,” and have “alarmed farmers, ranchers and landowners, as well as ordinary citizens across the Southwest.”

During the attempted roundup by armed federal agents in the days preceding last Saturday’s pullout by the BLM, several hundred cattle were impounded and some killed.  A photo of a cow apparently buried by federal agents was posted on the Bundy family’s website on Saturday.

BLM agents and Rangers were heavily-armed and appeared willing to shoot at Bundy Ranch supporters as a helicopter patrolled overhead.

In the lead-up to heated confrontations with armed federal agents, “militia” members and others traveled from all over the country to defend the Bundys’ claims to the land and assist in freeing some of the impounded cattle under the banner of “Operation Mutual Aid.”  Bundy has stated on national television that 52 other ranchers have been driven out of business by agents of the government in Washington, D.C.

“Their property has been stolen by the federal government,” said OMA spokesperson Ryan Payne.

The Bureau of Land Management was created in 1946 as the fusion of two former agencies, the General Land Office and the U.S. Grazing Service.  Its main office is located in Washington, DC, and the agency employs 10,000 people across the country in several field offices.  The BLM states that “The 245 million surface acres managed by the BLM were once called ‘the land nobody wanted’ because 19th-century Western settlers — the homesteaders — had passed it by. That is no longer true.”

Nineteen forty-six was also the year in which Congress “rewrote” the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, making grand jury presentments “obsolete.”  It is now virtually impossible for a citizen to approach a sitting federal grand jury with evidence of a crime without having to convince a prosecutor of the merit of his claims.

Some of the “homesteaders” on the land in Texas have worked it for generations but are being told that it is not theirs by the BLM.

The BLM claims on its website that “There are 1.8 billion acres of land in the United States, over two-thirds of which were transferred from federal ownership to individuals, corporations and states. The remaining 29 percent of the land (657 million acres) is in federal hands and is administered primarily by four federal agencies: the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Forest Service (FS) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

Agreeing with protesters who refused to observe “Free Speech zones” during the Bundy Ranch standoff, Miller said on his campaign website that “Barack Obama may not understand the concept, but our founding fathers understood that the entire United States of America is a constitutionally protected ‘free speech zone.’” He then referred to a case “30 years ago” involving a landowner, Tommy Henderson, from whom the BLM reportedly took a 140-acre parcel of land without any compensation.

Yahoo! News and other sources’ reports bolster Miller’s claim that the BLM is actively seeking claim to the 90,000 acres.  “The BLM clams this land never belonged to Texas,” Miller said.

The BLM’s “New Mexico” designation encompasses the 90,000 acres in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma and already “manages” more than 7,000,000 acres of “federally-owned land and minerals.”

In January, the BLM asked for public comment on an “Environmental Impact Study” it was carrying out which included land in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.  The BLM’s Resource Management Plan (RMP) involves “specialists” in “minerals and geology, archaeology, wildlife and fisheries, lands and realty, hydrology, soils, livestock grazing, recreation, sociology, and economics.”  The authority for the study is cited in a November 2013 newsletter as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969:  OFO_Newsletter (final) i

Residents of the area in Texas attended a meeting in December to voice their concerns, “a majority” of which were reported opposed to the BLM’s proposal.

Miller said that the Texas land being sought for management by the BLM is “privately-owned.”  Some of the land in question is claimed by Henderson, who said that the boundaries set forth by the court decision which ruled against him will be extended if the BLM is successful.  On April 10, RFDTV reported:

Ever since the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, there has been controversy over where Oklahoma ends and Texas begins.

In layman’s terms the boundary is the vegetation line on the south side of the Red River.

Over time the river moves. This movement north toward Oklahoma is the sticking point.

The sandy soils erode in a process called accretion, which wipes out the bank. So the property line follows the river.

The Bundy family claims that it has the right to graze its cattle on lands long-used by its forebears, beginning in 1877, while the BLM claims that it manages the property for the federal government, which it says is the true owner.  The BLM demanded grazing fees from Bundy beginning in 1993 which Bundy says he does not owe.  The conflict has highlighted the clash of states’ rights vs. federal powers.

The Founders designated 18 “enumerated powers” to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution, and the Tenth Amendment to the Bill of Rights states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The establishment of land-management agencies is not among the 18 enumerated powers contained in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791.  Prior to its adoption, a spirited debate on whether or not it was necessary ensued.  The Federalists had believed that a Bill of Rights was not necessary because “the Constitution did not need a bill of rights, because the people and the states kept any powers not given to the federal government.”

After anti-Federalists convinced Federalists that individual rights must be enshrined in a document separate from the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, an anti-Federalist, commented that “They have given the rights of man a full and fair discussion, and explained them in so clear and forcible manner as cannot fail to make a lasting impression.”

Miller has received endorsements for his candidacy from radio show host Michael Berry, Texas Right to Life, the Texas Wildlife Association, The Texas Conservative View, and performer and outdoorsman Ted Nugent, among many others.

On Friday, legislators from nine Western states met in Salt Lake City, UT, to discuss ways in which they might regain control of the hundreds of millions of acres located within their states now managed by the federal government.  The meeting, titled “the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands,” was attended by legislators from Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington State.

Like many of the Founders, Jefferson feared a large, powerful, central government.  He is known for his declaration that “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”

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  1. Remember, the entitlement people in DC killed Custer and all the Army men with him. The Indians were supplied with the latest repeater rifles which outgunned the Army men that were with Custer at the time. It was all planned and the reason was to keep Custer out of DC since he had announced he would run for office in DC. They were terrified of Custer and his reputation and make sure he didn’t make it to DC.

  2. We have the situation where politicians are making decisions with public property that benefit their own political means and that encompasses the entire problem with Harry Reid and the Bundy ranch grazing land. That a politician uses public property for personal gain is is a depravity common among the political elite.