LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s governor is criticizing a federal cattle roundup and what he calls “intimidation” in a dispute with a rancher who claims longstanding grazing rights on open range outside Las Vegas.
Federal Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service officials didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s call for the BLM to “reconsider its approach.”
Sandoval says he’s most offended that federal officials have tried to corral people protesting the roundup into a “First Amendment area.”
Federal officials say 277 cows have been rounded up since Saturday from a 1,200-square-mile area that it has closed to the public for the operation about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
The BLM says the cattle have trespassed for decades, and that Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy has racked up more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees while losing federal court cases.
Bundy claims to own at least 500 of more than 900 animals that rangers say are treading on protected habitat of the endangered desert tortoise.
Bundy’s son, Dave Bundy, was arrested Sunday and freed Monday.