With towns in Northern Nevada growing, the BLM reports more unauthorized uses of federal public land

It’s common to hear about property disputes among neighbors. But what happens when your neighbor is the federal government?

This is a question that occupies an increasing amount of time for Victoria Wilkins, an acting field manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Sierra Front division. From a BLM district office tucked away in Carson City, Wilkins says the agency is seeing more issues in the region — from Reno to Gardnerville — over where the federal domain begins and private land ends.

The BLM is charged with managing vast stretches of public land — about 67 percent of Nevada — for a variety of activities, including grazing, recreation, mining, wild horses and conservation. Although much of the agency’s landholdings are expansive ranges located in faraway valleys, many BLM parcels encircle private land or sit adjacent to it. As towns around the region grow, Wilkins said her office has seen more unauthorized uses of BLM land. The intrusions into the federal domain are often accidental (BLM land is not always marked), but they are still illegal.

“The more people we get concentrated in an area, the more these issues seem to be surfacing,” Wilkins said during an interview at the Carson City District before Memorial Day weekend.

Three weeks earlier, Wilkins said the district office caught someone blading a road into public land. Wilkins said the office gets a report like that at least once a month. There are other types of realty trespass too. She pointed to cases where landowners have accidentally built parts of their homes or sheds on public land, often because of faulty surveying. Or there are cases where private landowners will use a public road for private access without proper right-of-ways. A more recent form of trespass has been the construction of fuel breaks, areas of land where vegetation has been strategically removed to stunt runaway fires.

The BLM district has also seen an inexplicable uptick in abandoned vehicles. Where the local BLM officers used to see five or 10 abandoned vehicles, they have reported 47 this fiscal year.

“We don’t know [why],” Wilkins said. “We’re trying to figure that out.”

Across the Mountain West, more and more residents are purchasing homes near undeveloped land, especially as cities and even rural towns push the rural interface outward toward wildland. The trend has often placed more pressure on land managed by the agency. And in some cases, the ownership divide is unclear without a survey or map. In other cases, newcomers to the area can be unfamiliar with the rules governing public land, which can vary between regions.

Bret Birdsong, a UNLV law professor and a former deputy solicitor for the Department of Interior, said that the issues are especially prevalent in areas where human development abuts wildland.

“Part of the big picture is there are a lot of border lands where BLM land is bordering private land,” Birdsong said. “And just as with private land, it’s not all that unusual for there to be disputes or encroachments that occur because boundaries are not always clearly marked.”

The BLM deals with a variety of trespass issues that are not limited to land ownership. In fact, the concept of trespassing on public land is at the heart of the agency’s ongoing legal dispute with Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy. After Bundy stopped paying fees to graze his cattle on public land — the BLM requires ranchers to operate under 10-year grazing permits — a court order found that he was trespassing on the federal domain by illegally running his cattle.

Other cases of trespass include the unlawful removal of minerals, which are managed by the BLM. In April, the U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement with a Colorado oil and gas company over drilling in a railroad right-of-way without permission from the land agency.

Those cases are different. Those trespasses were willful. The trespasses reported to the BLM’s Carson City District, which includes the growing region around Reno, are often accidental.

Boris Poff, an acting assistant field manager in the BLM’s Las Vegas Field Office, said that more people are reporting trespass because more people are using public land. But Poff, who works in the lands division, said he is not sure that’s correlated to an overall increase in trespass.

“[For] most people we deal with,” he said, “it’s an honest mistake.”

Poff said the agency tries to settle many of the land issues amicably. Still, the BLM’s Southern Nevada division opened up 13 trespass cases over the last year and has 21 ongoing cases.

On May 7, the Carson City District Office sent out a news release reminding residents to check land ownership rules before they build a road, fuel break, fence or other structure. But the news release also cautioned that trespassing could come with consequences, including fines. In some cases, such as when part of a house is built on federal land, the agency can require a property owner to pay the fair market value for the land. When a trespass is willful, the penalty can be twice or three times the market value for the land or the charges for using a public road.

One or two land trespasses might seem benign, but they can add up. Birdsong said there are several issues at stake for the BLM, especially if the trespass occurs in sensitive habitat, like riparian areas. He said the agency also has a responsibility to manage the land for the public. And if the agency does not enforce its rules, it could signal to bad actors that it’s open season.

Wilkins said that she suspects that many trespasses result from a lack of understanding around public land, access and right-of-ways. But it’s becoming such a problem that title companies are aware of the issue, she said. And the office is now considering educating real estate agents.

“[One] thing that we’ve been talking about is doing some educational workshops with real estate agents so that they can help their clients identify potential pitfalls,” Wilkins said. “A lot of people want to live next to public lands, but they don’t always think about the things that can happen on the adjacent public lands — dirt biking, hiking, the horse use, vegetation removal projects, fire.”

Source: With towns in Northern Nevada growing, the BLM reports more unauthorized uses of federal public land


Week in Political Cartoons ~ W/E June 21, 2019

Week in Political Cartoons ~ W/E June 8, 2019

See you in court, governor

by Thomas Mitchell

So, the governor is confident that the extension of the modified business tax rate will withstand a legal challenge, according to both the Las Vegas newspaper and the online Nevada Independent.

“We’ve got legal opinion from LCB (Legislative Counsel Bureau) that, you know, a simple majority is what’s needed,” Gov. State Sisolak was quoted as saying Tuesday. “I’ve been in government for 20 some-odd years, and if you don’t trust your attorneys, you’ve got a problem. So I’m confident that the attorneys gave us a good opinion. We’ll move forward from there.”

Be prepared to move back, governor, by nearly $100 million in your budget for the next two years — the budget that promises 5 percent raises for teachers.

Republicans have promised a legal challenge if the business tax was extended without a two-thirds majority of both houses as prescribed by the Constitution. The tax extension passed the Senate on a party line vote of 13-8, one vote shy of two-thirds.

Voters in 1994 and 1996 amended the Nevada Constitution to state “an affirmative vote of not fewer than two-thirds of the members elected to each House is necessary to pass a bill or joint resolution which creates, generates, or increases any public revenue in any form, including but not limited to taxes, fees, assessments and rates, or changes in the computation bases for taxes, fees, assessments and rates.”

The modified business tax passed in 2015 by a two-thirds vote of lawmakers contained specific language saying the rates would be reduced in 2019 if tax revenues exceeded a certain level, which they have.

But the compliant LCB told the majority Democratic lawmakers and the Democratic governor, “It is the opinion of this office that Nevada’s two-thirds majority requirement does not apply to a bill which extends until a later date or revises or eliminates a future decrease in or future expiration of existing state taxes when that future decrease or expiration is not legally operative and binding yet, because such a bill does not change but maintains the existing computation bases currently in effect for the existing state taxes.”

The bill clearly “generates” revenue that two-thirds of the lawmakers in 2015 said would decrease as of July 1, 2019.

The state Constitution is not something to tamper with. Republicans should take it to court and make the Democrats abide by the rules, even if it means a special session would have to called. In fact, the GOP lawmakers should go directly to the state Supreme Court for an opinion that would binding, unlike the LCB opinion “that future decrease or expiration is not legally operative and binding yet …”

Asked nearly the same question in 2011, 2013 and 2015, the LCB said a two-thirds vote was necessary. So, governor, when do you trust your attorneys?

Gov. Steve Sisolak, right, talks to reporters about legislative session. (R-J pix)

Source: See you in court, governor

THE WILDLIFE CORRIDORS CONSERVATION ACT – What You Need to Know!

On By Steve Busch

The 2019 Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act  (WCCA) is perhaps the most significant attack on private property rights in decades, perhaps ever.  A simple look at the list of sponsors of the proposed legislation provides plenty of warning about what this new law portends.

The WCCA was introduced in Congress in May 2019. In the Senate, the bill is being led by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), and was cosponsored by Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D- NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).  The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen  Don Beyer  (D-VA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

REWILDING advocates and their minions in Congress are ecstatic over what this “ACT” will lead to once it is enacted.  Don’t be fooled, folks! This legislation doesn’t SAVE wildlife!  Non-endangered species such as grizzly bears and wolves don’t need your private property or more Federal land to survive.

The WCCA is NOT about building “squirrel bridges” over highways so our little furry friends can cross the road safely.  It is NOT about reducing highway collisions between motorists and moose.  It is NOT about reducing “conflicts” between large carnivores and people.

The WCCA provides for a system of “National Wildlife Corridors” which will affect all future decisions regarding Federal land and water management plans and activities.  The Act provides corridors for “existing native species habitat”  and also for “future native species habitat” as required to ensure “species resiliency”.

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The WCCA  seeks to permanently reverse the  “EXTIRPATION” of large carnivore species such as wolves and grizzly bears by ensuring population connectivity in the face of human development and/or any other human-caused factors including “climate change”.    The law will require that land where a species is “currently absent”  but once was historically occupied by a particular species, is “colonized or recolonized by the species” either through “re-introduction or restoration of habitat”.

The new law will empower the environmental lobby even further by allowing taxpayer-funded “Regional Climate Science Centers” and “Landscape Conservation Cooperative Networks” to continue operating outside the legislative process and having a disproportionate influence on land management planning and policy.

The WCCA establishes regional “Wildlife Movement Councils” which will involve multiple NGO’s and various stakeholders.  Private property owners, such as farmers and ranchers, will be allowed a seat at the table, but they will remain in the minority and are included only to add a veneer of cooperation and consensus for decisions they will be unable to successfully challenge.

The WCCA guarantees that rural communities here in the Inland Northwest will increasingly become surrounded by lands identified as “essential” to the movement of large carnivores species (grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves, wolverines, lynx, etc.)  These movement corridors will come at the expense of other wildlife species, human safety, and private property rights.

“Grizzly bears need room to roam… Grizzly bears don’t follow human boundaries, and often, our parks are simply too small for this wide-ranging species. When they venture outside of protected areas, they are hunted, hit by cars, or come into conflict with people. But just like how people need highways to get from one place to another safely, grizzly bears, and other species, need wildlife corridors to move from protected area to protected area in search of food and mates. The Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act would provide these essential paths, protect grizzlies and drivers from dangerous highway collisions, and help to reduce conflicts with people by giving grizzlies a safer route around cities and towns.”   [Wildlands Network]

Yes, highway wildlife crossings are certainly part of the sales pitch.  We all want safer roads.  Nobody in their right mind wants to collide with an animal on the highway.  But the WCCA isn’t about traffic safety!  It’s about adding yet another layer of burdensome regulations affecting thousands of square miles of America and changing how our society functions.

As private property becomes increasingly useless due to new and more restrictive land use regulations, conservation easement programs may eventually become the only viable option for bankrupt landowners.  The “Wildlife Movement Grant Program” and the “Wildlife Corridor Stewardship Fund” as outlined in the WCCA, will help ensure the continued destruction of property rights in America.

For further reading:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1499/text

http://conservationcorridor.org/cpb/WHCWG_2010.pdf

http://conservationcorridor.org/cpb/WHCWG_2011.pdf

https://wildlandsnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Information-Packet-2019.pdf

https://oldmanoftheski.com/2013/04/08/rewilding-the-interior-beware-the-lccs/

https://oldmanoftheski.com/2017/04/14/rewilding-america-on-youtube/

Source: THE WILDLIFE CORRIDORS CONSERVATION ACT – What You Need to Know!

Center for Self Governance: Who are they?

Who We Are

The Center for Self Governance is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization dedicated to advancing a stable civil society, balanced human government, and a well-educated populace.

Vision

CSG’s vision is the advancement of the stabilization of civil society.

Mission

CSG partners with you and your community to stabilize civil society and increase your political influence, improve your networking skills, and expand your personal growth and development.

Why the Center for Self Governance made the Governed v Governing series

A philosopher once said, "every member [of society] has an equal right of participation, personally, in the direction of the affairs of the society."

The challenge is convincing 'members of society,' you, that you not only can change the destiny of society - that you have the ability and responsibility to do so. The other challenge is figuring out  what you can do and how you should 'participate' in changing the destiny of society.

It's the sole reason for the Governed V Governing series - to meet you and empower you to change, not only your destiny, but also the destiny, 'the direction', of society.

The key is NO ONE can make you be self-governing. The Governing can make you do what the law says - but they cannot, it is impossible to make you be self-governing, you have to choose to be self-governing.

This same philosopher said "Self-governance in society is not innate, [not in your disposition to do so] it is the result of habit and long-training." We created the GVG series to meet you and, if you are willing, to train you in the 'habit and practice' of self-governance.

Our Applied Civics training is unique, unconventional, and counter-intuitive. It will empower you. It will change your destiny and the 'direction of the society' - if you choose to.

Upcoming Events

June 5th:   Screening @ 6:30 pm
O’Sullivan Grange 1136, 14724 Rd 3 SE, Moses Lake, WA 98837

June 6th:  Screening @ 6 pm
Odd Fellows Hall, 601 N Chelan Ave., Wenatchee WA 98801-2087

June 7th:  Screening @ 7 pm
Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E Main Ave, Spokane Valley, WA 99206

June 8th:  Screening @  11 am
Post Falls Library, 821 N Spokane St., Post Falls, Idaho

June 8th:  Foundational Civics training @ 3 pm
Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E Main Ave, Spokane Valley, WA 99206

June 9th:  Shoshone County, ID (tentative)

June 10th:  Screening @  6:30 pm
CAF Building 64361 Hwy 3 S, Fernwood, ID

June 11th:  Screening @  7:30 pm
Courthouse building, 605 N Capitol, Idaho Falls, ID

June 12th:  Screening @  7 pm
CNCC  (Colorado North Community College) Room 175,  2801 West 9th Street , Craig, CO 81625

June 13th:  Screening  @ 6:30 pm
Agriculture Resource Learning Center, 2011 Fairgrounds Road, Casper, WY
(Please use the “After Hours” door located immediately to the left of the main entrance door)

June 14th:  Foundational Civics training @ 8 am
Ide Residence - 3838 Garden Creek Road, Casper, WY
NOTE: Contact Cathy Ide, (307) 267-7167 or cathyide22@gmail.com for more information

June 15th:  Foundational Civics training @ 9 am
Courthouse building, 605 N Capitol, Idaho Falls, ID

June 19th - 22nd:  Northwest Liberty Acadmey, Boise, ID

June 22nd:  Screening & Fundraiser @ TBA
Caldwell, ID

July 13th:   Screening & Training
Calabassas area, CA

Tentative schedule:
10:30 am -12:00 pm     Lavoy Film/Discussion
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm     Lunch
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm     Foundational Civics Training

July 14th: Screening @ 1:30 pm
Riverside Main Library Community Room, 3581 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA

July 19th:   Screening @ 7 pm
Conference Room, Temecula Civic Center, 4100 Main St. (at Mercedes) Temecula, CA  92590

Schedule:
Check-in:  6 pm
Program start:  7 pm
Cost:  Members - $20; Non-members - $25; Gold Eagle members - $15; Students under 25 - FREE
Gold Eagle members can invite first time guests for $15
PLEASE RSVP Maria @ 951-551-7626 or email leanza.maria@verizon.net.

July 20th: Level 3 - Structure of Human Government (tentative)
Riverside County, CA
If you have ALL 7 exercises complete for the Foundational Civics program and would like to take Level 3 online, please contact Pam at pleslie@tncsg.org.

July 21st: Foundational Civics Training @ 12 pm - 5 pm
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair, 522 Railroad Street, Corona, CA 92882

July 26th-28th:  Challis, ID
Idaho Liberty Summit


Upcoming Online Training - Foundational Civics (4 hrs)

October 1st & 3rd, 2019

NOW $50 FOR NEW STUDENTS
For more information on our training go to https://www.centerforselfgovernance.com/

Tuition Price Changes

Foundational Civics (formerly Level 1 and 2 combined): 
New student:  $100 NOW $50      Child (Age 17 and under):  $30 NOW $40

Applied Civics (Level 3 - 5):
Prices unchanged
Couples discount no longer available

Find CSG Online
https://centerforselfgovernance.com

Nevada AB291 – Rules Suspended, Bill Completely Changed and Passed by The Senate.

AB291 was sent to the Governor late Friday, May 31st, 2019.  The bills final Senate version looks very little like what was passed out of the assembly earlier this month. After suspending the rules, the Senate amended the bill and added the verbiage from two other bills that never made it out of committee, giving them a life they were not supposed to have.  Red Flag and Gun Storage Laws were added to replace all of the Preemptive State Gun Law that was removed.

May 20, 2019 by associated press  CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety says it supported a proposal at the Nevada Legislature that would have allowed counties to pre-empt state gun laws and pass stricter firearm regulations but it became clear that the measure could not pass this year in the face of opposition.

The proposal was part of a broader gun bill moving through the statehouse but the bill's sponsor, Democratic Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, released a statement Friday saying she was removing the provision at the request of Everytown and other groups. The provision is expected to be replaced with language creating a so-called "red flag" law allowing police or family members to seek an order to seize guns from people who appear violent or may post a danger. 

Everytown deputy press secretary Zoe Sheppard says "there is a real path" to pass a red flag law in Nevada "that can save lives right away. She says Everytown will try again in the future to pass legislation allowing counties to set their own gun control regulations.

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Saturday, June 1st, Second Amendment supporters rallied with members of the Nevada Republican Assembly Caucus in Carson City as well as Las Vegas.


Week in Political Cartoons ~ W/E May 31, 2019

Week in Political Cartoons ~ W/E May 24, 2019

Week in Political Cartoons ~ W/E May 10, 2019