When can we make environmental wackos an endangered species?
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Some have speculated that the standoff between federal agents and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is the result of a secretive deal orchestrated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and political allies in the solar industry.
But the Bundy standoff is really the culmination of a long battle with environmentalists who want to keep federal lands off limits to economic activity. The primary vehicle used by government officials and environmentalists to advance this goal has been the desert tortoise, which was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 1990.
The land Bundy’s family had used for cattle grazing since the late 1800s suddenly became off-limits. Bundy refused to give up his grazing rights and wound up in a prolonged court battle. The court ruled against Bundy in 1998 and ordered him to remove his cattle, or else the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would do it for him.