It’s an oversimplification, but not an oversimplification that leads to inaccuracy.
I say “oversimplification” because President Reagan did not impose grazing fees for the first time, but instead set rates at the time. U.S. grazing fees grew out of the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act, which included among other noble purposes the saving of unoccupied public lands from erosion, to prevent them from contributing to a national Dust Bowl. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages about 245 million acres of land in the U.S., highly concentrated in 13 western states (about 86% of Nevada is public lands of one sort or another). Of those lands, about 155 million acres are open to grazing. BLM is part of the U.S. Department of Interior. Reagan’s Executive Order came when the law authorizing grazing fees had expired, and Congress was at an impasse in passing a new one, partly over a Reagan Administration proposal to raise grazing fees to market value, a multiple of fees then (and now) in effect.
Sagebrush Rebellion catches Tea Party Stupid disease, it seems to me. If the virus hasn’t been cured since 1993, what are the odds Mr. Bundy will sit still for a cure now?
More to come?
- Issue explained in the St. George (Utah) News
- Story on the standoff from the Las Vegas Review-Journal
- Los Angeles Times story on the end of the standoff
- Story with video from ABC’s national news; note guns being toted by protesters
- Conservative and libertarian, legal view of the situation (swallow your coffee, put down your drink, before you look)
- Montana considered raising state grazing fees in 2011, because private landowners charged more
- “‘Surprise’: Feds turn down enviros’ petition to raise grazing fees,” Arizona Star (Tucson), January 20, 2011
- U.S. Forest Service grazing fee schedule in 17 states (USFS is part of the Department of Agriculture)
- Our government controls a lot of land in the Western States; if you’re unfamiliar with just how extensive these holdings are, take a look at this article and study the map
- Public lands issues are greatly given to great misunderstanding; this is not new
- Full text of President Reagan’s Executive Order 12548, setting grazing fees, in February 1986