The Bureau of Land Management is a ‘gestapo’ according to officials who testified at a House hearing yesterday.
We have the beginnings of gestapos in every government agency and they are growing in power under the perceived authority of the President of the United States who rules this country via executive orders and “guidance” memos without any congressional oversight. He is militarizing his executive branch agencies and letting them run roughshod over citizens largely without restraint and supervision. They can’t be fired as we know.
One of the agencies that has become militarized and which has gone rogue is the Bureau of Land Management.
A hearing in the House on July 24th exposed a dangerous and persistent threat to our nation coming from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which is allegedly intimidating citizens, threatening their rights, and creating a hostile environment.
At the hearing this week, the following was uncovered:
- BLM has threatened witnesses to give up their property rights.
- Overreaching and malicious employee behavior goes without retribution.
- BLM does not care about any authority by law enforcement and will not coordinate with them. “BLM law enforcement in Garfield County is totally uncooperative and unresponsive,” Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock said in written testimony. “Dispatchers have been rebuffed so many times by BLM agents that the county only contacts them as a last resort and with little hope for assistance.” Law enforcement have been told BLM doesn’t care about any authority they think they have.
- BLM’s Chief of Law Enforcement overrides State Directors and costs counties a fortune.
- BLM is stealing land and buying up land under the endangered species act which is being abused and misinterpreted deliberately.
The House Natural Resources Committee chaired by Doc Hastings released the following:
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 24, 2014: Today, the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulations held an oversight hearing on “Threats, Intimidation and Bullying by Federal Land Managing Agencies.” This hearing continued Committee oversight into bullying by federal land management agencies and federal law enforcement agencies on private, state, and federal lands.
State and local governments, ranchers, business owners, and private citizens have been subject to threats, lack of cooperation, and numerous unfair or heavy-handed tactics which threaten public safety, the environment, endangered species, and the livelihoods of communities. Congressional oversight is necessary to provide an effective check on federal officials who abuse their regulatory powers.
“Today we took a second look at threats, intimidation and bullying by Federal Land Managing Agencies. During a hearing the Committee held last year and again today, we heard first-hand accounts of mistreatment at the hands of federal officials seeking to extort the witnesses into relinquishing their property rights,” said Representative Doug LaMalfa (CA-01). “These firsthand accounts give the victims of abusive conduct by a federal land managing official a chance to tell their story to Congress. Status quo agency oversight, policies and procedures are inadequate for addressing or deterring employee abuses and may instead embolden overreaching or malicious employee behavior with little risk of retribution for their actions.”
Witnesses highlighted examples of flagrant intimidation met by citizens who refuse to surrender their constitutional rights, land and water rights, grazing permits and other multiple-use benefits.
Sheriff James Perkins, Garfield County, UT, highlighted his perspective from 27 years of law enforcement and experience working with various federal law enforcement agencies.
“BLM’s attitude towards coordinating with local law enforcement is summed up best by a conversation I had with a BLM law enforcement officer while we were attending a drug task force meeting in Cedar City, Utah. He told me point blank that he didn’t care about any authority that I thought I had as the Garfield County Sheriff, and that he did not feel like he had to coordinate anything through my office… This refusal to coordinate, coupled with a lack of any meaningful oversight, has created a perfect environment where the abuse of federal law enforcement powers can occur.”
Leland Pollock, Garfield County Commissioner, Garfield County Utah, testified on how BLM law enforcement has moved away from a public service philosophy due to polarization of personnel and bullying and cancellation of cooperative agreements.
“Our concerns/ complaints are not just a matter of hurt feelings, bullying, intimidation, lack of integrity, and a host of social issues. BLM’s Chief of Law Enforcement has cost Garfield County real dollars… We are befuddled how one individual can override a State Director and negatively impact an entire county with impunity.”
A. Grant Gerber, Elko County Commissioner, Elko Nevada, discussed specific examples of wrongdoings, threats, intimidation, and bullying by both BLM law enforcement and a district manager.
“When I was a boy and as I grew up the few Federal Agents were mainly local or from rural areas and fit in well with the local area. They knew the people and worked cooperatively. Now the Federal agents are predominantly from outside the area and do not develop connections with the locals as was done previously. Many start off with a belligerent attitude, even a commanding presence. They are especially offended if anyone opposes any Federal Government actions. The worst are the Federal Law Enforcement Agents that arrogantly announce that they are not governed by Nevada law, but can enforce it if they choose. Now we have been informed, that without notice of hearings, the BLM has determined that two more BLM Law Enforcement Agents are necessary to control the people in the Elko area. All of this is resulting in less use of Federal Lands by citizens as the citizens become afraid of being accosted and berated.”
Jose Valera Lopez, President of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, Rancher, Santa Fe New Mexico, testified on current justifications Federal Land Managers use to intimidate and bully including Endangered Species protection and resource protection.
“Endangered species ‘protection’ is the biggest culprit. At the moment the Fish and Wildlife Service is considering critical habitat for the lesser prairie chicken, the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, and two varieties of garter snakes. Expansion of the Mexican wolf habitat is expected as early as tomorrow. We have had 764,000 acres in New Mexico and Arizona recently designated critical habitat for the jaguar although only a few male jaguar have been sighted in the U.S. over the last 60 years… In my own case, the BLM has been buying up private lands near my family ranch within the boundaries of an Area of Critical Environmental Concern that they designated part of their Resource Management Plan. They not refer to our ranch as an in-holding. What this designation has done is de-valued our land and effectively prohibits any type of future development on the ranch.”
The armed BLM even intimidates visitors to the county according to Pollack.
Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican whose district includes Garfield County, pushed for his legislation that would defund what he says are paramilitary units within federal agencies that don’t need such heavily-armed forces, including the BLM.
Every government agency is armed with paramilitary teams serving as law enforcement who believe their authority supersedes that of all law enforcement. They are rogue law enforcement since they operate only under one man – the president – without any oversight from Congress.
Listen to what one rancher is going through and understand this is going on throughout the country and particularly the West.
We recently witnessed the BLM raid the Bundy ranch wearing full armor, carrying assault rifles and positioning themselves behind berms as the rancher, his family and workers sat helpless. Bundy had not paid his grazing fees but that was irrelevant to the obvious problem here. What is relevant is that the BLM was empowered to shoot and kill anyone on the ranch over grazing fees.
Photo via oneoldvet
Government agents aren’t like our trusted law enforcement who will not fire on innocents. They are arrogant bureaucrats with guns. They are a protected class of people, protected by an overreaching government and their crony unions. Sentinel supports private unions but government unions are problematic and present serious conflicts of interest.
Armed militias flooded onto Bundy’s ranch and the BLM stood down, but that was after the bureaucrats cordoned off free speech areas far from the ranch and shut down Bundy’s access to the outside world while conducting air surveillance drills.
The BLM is in the process of confiscating 90,000 acres along the Red River based on an uncontested ruling thirty years ago. The owners of the land have deeds to their land, some dating back to 1804. The land in question is rich in minerals.
Private property is being taken and public lands are being kept from use by the public to allegedly protect obscure and unimportant animals.
Nature weeds out creatures and plants. It happens every day. It’s the way of things. They weren’t all meant to survive indefinitely.
It isn’t the issue really, the animals are an excuse to steal and control land and the money it can bring in.
Unfortunately, if the government can’t win through misuse of laws and rules, they will use physical force and they feel empowered to do so.