One of the reasons I chose to run for office was because of my frustration with the government. For years, my company has dealt with good and bad actors at the state and federal levels.
On the opening page of Nevada Constitution’s Third Ordinance, it reads: “The people inhabiting said territory (Nevada) do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the inappropriate public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.” The U.S. Supreme Court as well as many District Courts have held that our federal government has the right to own and regulate lands. The Supreme Court has also stated that grazing on public lands is a privilege, not a right.
For nearly a century, The U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have held that our federal government does have the right to own lands and charge fees for the privilege of their private uses.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issues permits and leases for 1-10 years and they do so annually in order to adjust the fees and make modifications to the permits as environmental conditions warrant this on a yearly basis. The permittee must abide by the lease and its modifications. They also have to sign the permit.
Currently, the BLM administers nearly 18,000 permits nationally for grazing on BLM lands. Only a miniscule portion of these permittees are in violation of the terms of their permits. Most pay their fees each year.
I have looked at both sides of the Bundy story. I understand this subject very well, as one of my businesses has been paying user-fees on federally-owned lands since 1992.
The Bundys signed legally-binding grazing permits with the BLM, effectively agreeing to pay annual fees for the privilege of grazing their cows, but then they refused to pay what they owed. Part of these grazing fees collected by the Federal Government are returned back to the State of Nevada (Congressional Research Service 7-5700 RS21232 www.crs.gov). Thus, the citizens of Nevada are owed fees by the Bundy’s.
Whatever their reasoning for not paying, the Bundy’s are still in violation of the law. The Bundy’s actions cannot be squared with the good State of Nevada.
When we, as citizens, disagree or object to the laws of our land, we go through the due process of electing officials who will modify or change the laws. These same officials will also appoint judges. America is a land of laws, written by our representatives. The Courts are run by duly-appointed officers of our society. This is the only way civilized societies can function and survive over time.
Until such laws are changed, we are obliged as citizens of a civilized society to obey them.
Jared L. Fisher, Republican Candidate for Governor of Nevada