‘Federal Lands’ articles

Are BLM 'police' acting legally in Nevada?

Duo ticketed for cutting wood in forbidden area say GPS shows they were outside

ELKO — A Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officer, accused of erroneously ticketing a local for cutting wood, isn’t allowed to tell his side until the agency completes an internal investigation.

Resident Brad Nelson said he and two friends were cited by Ranger Brad Sones near Spruce Mountain for cutting wood in a wilderness study area. They each received a ticket for about $275. Nelson addressed the county commission Wednesday, which has discussed BLM law enforcement issues before.

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Broken Compact

The Hollowing-Out of Nevada Statehood

Before Nevada joined the Union in 1864, the U.S. Congress explicitly promised more than two dozen times that the new state would be on an equal footing with the original states.

That promise was not kept.

Almost 150 years later, the Silver State still limps along with its effective sovereignty significantly crippled by a federal government that, even by its own count, controls over 85 percent of the state’s surface.

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How Nebraska's federal land entered the private domain

Just one month apart, in 1864, Congress passed the acts enabling the residents of the Nevada and Nebraska territories to apply for statehood.

Each act had exactly the same disclaimer clause. Under that clause, each territory’s residents “agree[d] and declare[d] that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory…”

That disclaimer clause, clearing title to the unappropriated land in each territory, opened the door for Congress to sell or otherwise dispose of that land — and thus to open great expanses of the soil to settlement, commerce, the building of communities and, eventually, to state and local taxation.

In Nebraska, Congress allowed that entire process to occur.

In Nevada, it did not.

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