Barbara H. Peterson
News sites have been frantically buzzing about the standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada between cattle rancher Cliven Bundy, referred to by this author as ‘Bunkerville Bundy,’ and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over an endangered tortoise.
Reports attribute the BLM’s heavy-handed actions to remove Bundy’s cattle from the land they have been grazing on for generations to a takeover by Harry Reid and a Chinese Solar Energy Zone, and/or fracking interests. Interesting theories. However, what if the answer as to why the BLM wants to get Bundy’s cattle off the land is something a bit more direct? What if it’s for the water?
Nevada and the Tortoise
It becomes apparent with even a cursory glance at the background information, that the real issue in Nevada is not an endangered tortoise. It just so happens that the Bundy family holds several vested water rights. Diane Augustine found the following water rights information:
I followed up with the State of Nevada and spoke with Melissa Marr. She told me that her department is currently working to convert all vested water rights into a permitted system in which the people who want water must pay for a permit to use it. If a person holding a vested interest does not use it, or sells it, that vested interest is automatically voided and turned into a permitted interest.
In other words, if Bunkerville Bundy does not use his water, he loses it. If the cattle are not on the land, he is not using the water. No cattle, no water usage, and that vested water right held for 100 years or so goes byby. If the BLM succeeds in removing the cattle, the family’s vested water rights will be up for grabs under the new permitted system.
Vested Water Right – A ground water or surface water right that pre-dates statutory water law. By virtue of their early pre-statutory nature, vested rights enjoy maximum protection against later appropriations and later statutory provisions. This protection does not extend to forfeiture and abandonment of ground water rights (NRS 534.090)…
Failure for five successive years after April 15, 1967, to use beneficially all or any part of the underground water for the purpose for which the right is acquired, constitutes forfeiture (NRS 534.090). LINK
Follow the money…
It’s also possible the drought in the western states could have been the catalyst to the desperate actions by the federal authorities surrounding the Bundy cattle operation. Currently, water rights in Nevada run anywhere from $7,000 to $50,000 per acre-foot (depending on the time of year and the amount of rainfall or snowfall in the western region). The water in Nevada is then auctioned, as it has been for at least twenty-five years. That same water can be resold in Las Vegas, Arizona, or Southern California. LINK
So, here is a question that begs answering – Is the entire operation against Bunkerville Bundy, the ‘last cattleman standing,’ just another water grab brought to you by the phony environmental movement using an ‘endangered tortoise’ as an excuse to leverage the water rights out from under us and consolidate them into the hands of the government to do with as it pleases?
Oregon and the Sucker
In a related instance, Klamath Basin, Oregon has lost the majority of its irrigation and livestock water due to another endangered species. Only the critter that is supposedly being protected is not the desert tortoise, it is the sucker fish. Oh yeah, and we can throw in the salmon just for that extra, value added punch.
In 2001, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was introduced to our community in a hurry. The Bureau of Reclamation shut off our irrigation water, we were told, because the current ‘opinions’ said that the tens-of-thousands of sucker fish in Klamath Lake, and coho salmon in the Klamath River, were endangered or threatened. That meant that our basin, which once was a deep lake, and as much of our untested aquifer as we could pump, belonged in Klamath Lake which was spilling over and in a river (in 2001) that the miners said had more water than they had ever seen. And the irrigators received no water. The refuges went dry. Our crops died. My husband and I (we are KBC News webmasters and editors) personally had to drill a $100,000 well to keep our perennial organic horseradish fields alive. Our organic pea field died.
Our neighbors and parents were some of the lucky veterans whose deeds were signed by U. S. Presidents. They are in their ‘golden years’, and they cried and asked why? Why would their government take water off their land for the first time in all history? Why would their government break their promises? Why would their government say the fish are endangered when they will not tell us how many there are, how many there were, and how many they want? Why would the fish need more water than they had before the project was built back in the early 1900s?.
Why would their government destroy the community that they spent their lives building from nothing? Why would their government allow our abundant wildlife to die?
We watched our Hispanic farm families, who had lived here for over 20 years, move away, with no place to go, no jobs, no money. We watched the school’s dwindle in numbers. We watched our refuge water being sucked out of our area, and for the first time in known history, these refuge lakes dried and cracked. Animals died. It was like a cemetery.
The night our water was shut off I emailed the world in total disbelief and despair. A friend Ron DeShon, an old neighbor whose father also was a Tulelake homesteader, called and ask what he could do to help, and within a week he created www.klamathbasincrisis.org This became a night and day task for him and for many of us feeding him information….contacts of representatives, media, food services for the farmers and ranchers and farm workers who had no income, meetings, rallies, groups being formed to provide services.
Convoys came and brought hay for our livestock, since our alfalfa fields had dried up and died. They brought food, clothing, and donated funds to help the farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin.
Over 200 domestic wells went dry, so there was some help for some residents needing to drill wells to service their homes. Our untested aquifer was being sucked dry. On top of that, as some of our fields went dry, we were pumping our wells into the refuge to help sustain over 300 species of wildlife.
Over half of the waterfowl feed comes from our crops, and in 2001, that feed was not possible. So many farmers planted a crop on dry land and left it for the birds. LINK
What’s George got to do with it?
The feds waited 14 years to implement their plan using a fish as an excuse for the Klamath Basin water takeover and finally wore down the ranchers fighting it. It was a game of ‘wait and litigate’ until the farmers started going broke, couldn’t afford the constant court fees, then an agreement was placed in front of them allowing severely limited water usage, with the threat of ‘either sign it or we will keep you in litigation for years, cut off your livelihood by cutting off all water to your ranches, then take it all.’ And it all started with an endangered fish…
The Center for Biological Diversity, Oregon Wild, Environmental Protection Information Center, and The Larch Company sued to list another endangered species (Environmental groups want Klamath River salmon listed as Endangered Species.)
The first 3 groups along with some “friends”, “stakeholders” in the KBRA (Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement), are all in a coalition together: George Soros, Tides, Ford Foundation, Weeden and dozens more including the federal government fund their litigation to destroy our infrastructure/dams and take our land and water.
KBC NOTE: CBD is funded by Earthjustice, which is funded by George Soros. The same CBD who is presently suing to take more Klamath Basin irrigation water by changing the biological opinions. LINK
“Again and again federal judges have said the BLM has the right and duty to remove cattle trespassing in the Gold Butte area to protect desert tortoises and other imperiled species,” said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, which had filed a notice of intent to sue over the lack of action being taken by the federal agencies. “We’re heartened and thankful that the agencies are finally living up to their stewardship duty. The Gold Butte area has been officially designated as critical habitat for threatened tortoises — meaning the area is essential to their long-term survival as a species. LINK
Bunkerville Bundy is fighting over vested rights that his family has held for around 100 years. An ‘endangered tortoise’ is being thrown in the mix with the BLM saying that the cattle are killing them off. Interesting. According to The Dry Lakes Solar Energy Zone document, which is a huge project covering 5,717 acres near the Bundy grazing land,
In the context of the National Environmental Policy Act, direct impacts on the overall range of these species would not be significant because the Dry Lake SEZ is only a small portion of the overall range.
So, a few cattle are endangering the tortoises, but a huge 5,717 acre complex is nothing to be concerned about.
If the BLM succeeds in banishing Bundy’s cattle from the land, then his vested water rights go with them, and the state takes the water. The tortoise has nothing to do with it, just like the sucker fish has nothing to do with the Klamath Basin water crisis.
The tie that binds both Nevada and Oregon together is that phony environmental issues, propagated by the Soros crowd, are being used to rob us of our most valuable resource – water and the right to use it.
Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink…
In Nevada, water belongs to the public and is regulated by the state. What does that mean? It means that every drop of water is owned or operated by the United States or the State of Nevada. Unless you have a vested water right and maintain it, you must apply for a permit to use it.
In the Klamath Basin, Oregon, every drop of water belongs to the tribes, and is regulated by the state.
Consider this – The tribes are a sovereign nation. This equates to having a foreign nation within a nation, with its own separate rules and regulations apart from the law of the land as we know it, sitting right smack dab in the middle of our backyard. And it has control of all Klamath Basin water. And that foreign nation can decide to withhold water at any time. It is not accountable to you or me or anyone that is not a member of the tribes. And it is acting in tandem with the United Nations and the U.S. Federal Government to control all resources and implement Agenda 21.
Klamath Tribes Constitution
ARTICLE IV – JURISDICTION
Section 1: The sovereign powers, authority and jurisdiction of the Klamath Tribes extends to all the territory which formerly constituted the Klamath Reservation, and to all property, airspace, natural resources, cultural resources and such other lands or interests that have been or may thereafter be added thereto by purchase, gift, act of Congress or otherwise.
A. All lands of the Klamath Tribes and all lands thereafter acquired by the Klamath Tribes and held for the use of the Tribes or its members shall be considered a valuable Tribal resource. Control and management thereof are vested in the General Council, which may enact laws governing the use, assignment, permit, lease, or other disposition of lands, interests in land, and resources of the Tribes.
B. It shall be the policy of the Klamath Tribes to seek the return, to the Klamath Tribes, of all lands, natural and cultural resources, including minerals and water rights that become available and which were historically a part of the Klamath Tribes heritage
C. All waters which originate in or flow through the Klamath Tribes jurisdiction, or which are stored within the Klamath Tribes jurisdiction, whether found on the surface or underground, are a valuable Tribal resource of the Klamath Tribes, and are to be protected for the present and future use of the Klamath Tribes.
Section II: The sovereign powers, authority and jurisdiction of the Klamath Tribes and its government shall extend to all persons and activities within the territory which formerly constituted the Klamath Reservation and is consistent with Federal law.
Section III: The sovereign powers, authority and jurisdiction of the Klamath Tribes and its government may extend beyond the geographical boundaries of the Klamath Tribes territorial jurisdiction. LINK
But these are not the only instances of water and other resource grabs across the nation. Several other areas are experiencing the same types of things, with the following proposal being the coup de gras:
According to congressional budget testimony last week, Waters of the United States would give the EPA authority over streams on private property even when the water beds have been dry, in some cases for hundreds of years.
Calling it “the biggest land grab in the history of the world,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said the “economic impact of that would be profound.”
“A community needing to build on private land that had on it one of these so-called streams that you considered a waterway under the new rule would have to travel thousands, hundreds of miles to D.C., to get approval,” Rogers said.
The congressman argued it “would absolutely freeze economic activity in this country.”
Rogers said the proposal is “proof in and of itself of the mal-intent of this administration toward the private sector.” LINK
Who was it that said this country will fall without firing a shot? Whoever owns the water rights owns the right to decide who lives and who dies. Who gets to eat and who doesn’t. And not a shot was fired.
©2014 Barbara H. Peterson
Nevada Rancher whose land was taken by BLM over water rights tells it all.