Cliven Bundy Owes more Money in Unpaid Grazing Fees than all other Ranchers Combined
The Nevada rancher who became the darling of the right-wing, anti-government fringe turns out to be the biggest cheater among all American ranchers who owe money for grazing fees.
Cliven Bundy, who has refused for 20 years to pay the same fees other cattlemen do to run their herds on public lands, owes the federal government more money than all other delinquent ranchers combined. Bundy claims not to recognize the federal government’s control over the land where his cattle graze.
Last March, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began to round up Bundy’s cattle for payment of unpaid fees. Armed protesters came to Bundy’s defense, and after a couple weeks, the BLM backed down.
Bundy’s bill stands at more than $1 million, which includes fees for late payments and trespassing on federal property, since he has not made payments to the BLM since the early 1990s.
In comparison, 458 ranchers (out of 16,000) who run cattle on BLM lands collectively owe late grazing bills that total $237,000, according to agency numbers collected by Greenwire. Furthermore, less than 1% of the 16,000 ranchers are more than two months behind on their payments.
So how much are these BLM fees that Bundy finds so odious? Ranchers pay $1.35 per month for each cow and calf they run on BLM and Forest Service lands, “a fee far below what is charged to graze on private or state lands,” according to Greenwire’s Phil Taylor.
Environmentalists have long contended that the fees are much too low, causing the likes of Bundy to treat the payments as meaningless. “When you’re getting something for nothing, why not pay nothing?” Todd Tucci, an attorney with Advocates for the West, told Greenwire.
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Bundy Owes U.S. more than All Other Ranchers Combined -- BLM (by Phil Taylor, Greenwire)
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