• September 15, 2014

Drawing the line: Land dispute pits Perry, Abbott against feds

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Posted: Friday, April 25, 2014 4:30 am

AUSTIN — Top Texas leaders are accusing the federal government of trying to seize property they say belongs to local cattle ranchers, a dispute that involves the same agency currently embroiled in an armed standoff over land in Nevada.

Outgoing Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott, the front-runner in the race to succeed him, insist politics has nothing to do with their recent public criticism of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

At issue are up to 90,000 acres along the Red River, which marks the border with Oklahoma. Last summer, the Bureau of Land Management began holding field hearings about the possibility of revising regulations of federal holdings in Texas,

Oklahoma and Kansas.

That’s a multiyear process, but it caused some ranchers to raise concerns their land could be expropriated as part of an updated “Resource Management Plan.”

“If this country’s to stay the land of freedom and liberty, private property rights must be respected,” Perry said Thursday in an interview with “CBS This Morning.” The governor, who isn’t seeking re-election but hasn’t ruled out a second presidential run, is a fierce states’ rights advocate who once even suggested that he could understand why some citizens could get so fed up with the government that they might want to secede from the United States.

Earlier this week, Abbott wrote to the Bureau of Land Management, saying he is “deeply concerned” it “believes the federal government has the authority to swoop in and take land that has been owned and cultivated by Texas landowners for generations.”

Donna Hummel, spokeswoman for the agency, countered that it is “categorically not expanding federal holdings along the Red River.”

The battle brewing in Texas comes against the backdrop of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher and states’ rights advocate at the center of a national feud with the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing on public land. His case had become a rallying cry for conservatives nationwide, though Bundy also has taken sharp criticism for racist comments he made that were published in The New York Times.

Asked about Bundy on Thursday, Perry called the Nevada case “a side issue” compared to what’s occurring in Texas.

Meanwhile, Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general’s office, said via email Thursday that the letter Abbott sent the agency was “in no way related to the dispute in Nevada.” She said Abbott’s office first received complaints from North Texas constituents about the Red River case and since then its staff has been investigating.

Still, Abbott followed Perry’s comments with a fundraising email Thursday claiming the federal government was trying to “seize private property” in Texas.

Abbott’s letter noted that the Bureau of Land Management previously proposed a scenario whereby 90,000 acres of land in the area was ceded to the federal government — but that doing so would require congressional approval, and that a law passed in 2000 did not provide the boundaries the agency sought.

Ken Aderholt, 60, who farms and ranches just north of Harrold, said he could lose as many as 600 acres of his 2,000-acre property — an area including his home, barns and pens.

“It does make you angry, almost like we’re in a socialist society,” Aderholt said.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a Democratic candidate for Texas lieutenant governor, and George P. Bush, a GOP candidate for Texas land commissioner, have both joined Perry and Abbott in expressing concerns about the possible property dispute with the federal government.

Bush, the grandson of one former president and nephew of another, promised that if elected, he’d “do everything in my power” to stop the Bureau of Land Management in the Red River area.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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1 comment:

  • Eliza posted at 6:15 am on Fri, Apr 25, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 755

    @ a dispute that involves the same agency currently embroiled in an armed standoff over land in Nevada.-------


    What's got to be looked at in Nevada ---The Bundy family are making use of land that is Public and belongs to the people, with the federal Gov. overseeing that property for the people.

    The land in Texas is Private property belonging to a private individual.
    It is that man's property. That is the difference in the Nevada and Texas disputes.

    The Bundy family can argue all they want,
    that because their family has used that land since the 1800's ,it is theirs by law to make use of. He is wrong!

    It belongs ,on paper, to the people of the land, and if he is making use of their land for his own personal gain and benefit,
    Then he is libel to pay any leasing fee's that are due, the same as thousands of other cattle men are doing at this time.

    An argument has been used ,stating that Bundy does a service by providing meat from his cattle for the public food supply.
    Again, Bundy is still wanting to get over by using the peoples land to raise his product on public property (the peoples property) ,and then turn around and sell it to the same public. He is really getting over two fold.

    We are a land of laws, and all must follow them or else there will be total chaos ,
    As long as its on legal paper of how the public land use is accomplished ,
    that's the way it has to be to be fair to the people of the entire land, All the people, not just to the Bundy family.

    Bundy has been though several courts through the years and they all have given the same verdict. Its public land with fee's for use to be paid to the people.

    So its not as if he hasn't had his day in court.
    ----------------------------

    A Brief History of Public Lands Grazing

    During the era of homesteading, Western public rangelands were often overgrazed because of policies designed to promote the settlement of the West and a lack of understanding of these arid ecosystems. In response to requests from Western ranchers, Congress passed the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 (named after Rep. Edward Taylor of Colorado), which led to the creation of grazing districts in which grazing use was apportioned and regulated. Under the Taylor Grazing Act, the first grazing district to be established was Wyoming Grazing District Number 1 on March 23, 1935. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes created a Division of Grazing within the Department to administer the grazing districts; this division later became the U.S. Grazing Service and was headquartered in Salt Lake City. In 1946, as a result of a government reorganization by the Truman Administration, the Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office to become the Bureau of Land Management.
    ----------------
    Grazing on Public Lands
    The Bureau of Land Management, which administers about 245 million acres of public lands, manages livestock grazing on 155 million acres of those lands, as guided by Federal law. The terms and conditions for grazing on BLM-managed lands (such as stipulations on forage use and season of use) are set forth in the permits and leases issued by the Bureau to public land ranchers.

    The BLM administers nearly 18,000 permits and leases held by ranchers who graze their livestock, mostly cattle and sheep, at least part of the year on more than 21,000 allotments under BLM management. Permits and leases generally cover a 10-year period and are renewable if the BLM determines that the terms and conditions of the expiring permit or lease are being met. The amount of grazing that takes place each year on BLM-managed lands can be affected by such factors as drought, wildfire, and market conditions.

    In managing livestock grazing on public rangelands, the BLM’s overall objective is to ensure the long-term health and productivity of these lands and to create multiple environmental benefits that result from healthy watersheds. The Bureau administers public land ranching in accordance with the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, and in so doing provides livestock-based economic opportunities in rural communities while contributing to the West’s, and America’s, social fabric and identity. Together, public lands and the adjacent private ranches maintain open spaces in the fast-growing West, provide habitat for wildlife, offer a myriad of recreational opportunities for public land users, and help preserve the character of the rural West.
    ------------------
    Federal Grazing Fee
    The Federal grazing fee, which applies to Federal lands in 16 Western states on public lands managed by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, is adjusted annually and is calculated by using a formula originally set by Congress in the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978. Under this formula, as modified and extended by a presidential Executive Order issued in 1986, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM); also, any fee increase or decrease cannot exceed 25 percent of the previous year’s level. (An AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.) The grazing fee for 2014 is $1.35 per AUM, the same level as it was in 2013.
    The Federal grazing fee is computed by using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM for livestock grazing on public lands in Western states. The figure is then adjusted each year according to three factors – current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. In effect, the fee rises, falls, or stays the same based on market conditions, with livestock operators paying more when conditions are better and less when conditions have declined./ **** ------- Its always better to look before you leap --- And know facts before believing fiction ,someone may be making up for their own personal gain $$$$ and benefit.

     

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