If the desert tortoise needed protection from grazing cattle, how would a $4.2 billion solar facility protect the habitat of the desert tortoise?
When governments fear the people there is liberty. When people fear the government there is tyranny. The years of tyranny that the Bundy family and Ryan Payne have endured was brought to a constitutional close on January 8, 2017, by Nevada Federal Judge Gloria Navarro. Judge Navarro found that the prosecution had committed “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct” by withholding evidence that could have supported the defendants’ case. Namely, Navarro explained that federal prosecutors had failed to disclose information from FBI video surveillance from the standoff and the presence of federal snipers around the Bundy Ranch.
Judge Navarro ruled that as a result, the Bundy’s and Mr. Payne, who had been slapped with felony conspiracy and firearms charges and have been detained for years in a federal prison–even in solitary confinement, could not receive a fair trial. She dismissed the charges “with prejudice,” which specifically bars the possibility of bringing a new trial against them. She added, “The court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated.”
Following the money, the universal sense of justice had been violated, not only by the prosecution, but by the Obama Administration, the Bureau of Land Management, Harry Reid, his son Rory, and environmental justice non-profits, who collectively used the force of the federal government to intimidate, indict, defame and imprison an innocent family and Ryan Payne, in order to “protect the desert tortoise” and to collect overdue fees on “grazing rights.” (Never mind that the Bundy cattle and desert tortoises had lived in harmony for over 100 years and long before the Bureau existed).
One would hope that a collection of debt, or the preservation of a tortoise, wouldn’t come at the end of a barrel from a federal sniper, yet billions of dollars were at stake and the Bundy’s livelihood and property were in the way of a Democrat pay day.
The Tortoise and the Harry
The Center for Biological Diversity, found upon the premise of saving the spotted owl, was involved in the “environmental justice” fight on behalf of the desert tortoise. In their 2014 financials, they target and fundraised off the Bundy/BLM showdown.
They are also one of the very few websites that have archived a scrubbed page from the BLM website which directly referenced the Bundy ranch. According to many references and sources, the page was scrubbed after the standoff between the BLM and Bundy supporters became national news. According to the scrubbed document: “Non-governmental organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle.” The trespass cattle would be Bundy’s cows.
In a press release in December 2014, they announced:
“A new U.S. Geological Survey study finds conclusive evidence that imperiled desert tortoises are harmed by livestock grazing and off-road vehicles, highlighting the need for better protection of tortoises in the Gold Butte area of the Mojave Desert northeast of Las Vegas.”
“Grazing and ORVs are taking a terrible toll on desert tortoises. If these rare tortoises are going to survive at healthy levels, we need to give them more protection, and that can start in Gold Butte,” said Rob Mrowka, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This study in the west Mojave applies to all of the Mojave.”
“The results of this study highlight the abysmal failure of the agency to adequately conserve a species afforded protections under the Endangered Species Act”, said Mrowka.
“It’s painfully obvious that it’s time for a new management regime at Gold Butte,” said Mrowka. “What makes the most sense would be to create a Gold Butte National Monument and turn its management over to the National Park Service, whose mission places it in a better position to provide the needed changes in management. The Center has a notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the failure to protect tortoises from the impacts of the trespass grazing, and are carefully monitoring the federal response to rancher Cliven Bundy’s refusal to remove the cattle at Gold Butte.”
In their 2016 financials (2015 is missing), they, like many progressive organizations, threaten and intimidate through legal action on the bet they will find an activist judge to rule in their favor. Yet, I couldn’t find any lawsuits filed or public announcements against any Reid-friendly
donors developers or the Chinese solar energy company, ENN, whose $5 billion solar farm and manufacturing facility would significantly impact the habitat of the desert tortoises.
The Reids’ Greed
On April 3, 2012, Bloomberg reported Chinese billionaire Wang Yusuo, one of China’s richest citizens and the founder of ENN, had teamed up with Harry Reid to win incentives including land 113 miles southeast of Las Vegas that ENN sought to buy for $4.5 million, less than one-eighth of the land’s $38.6 million assessed value.
According to Reuters:
Harry Reid and his oldest son, Rory, are both involved in an effort by a Chinese energy giant, ENN Energy Group, to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel manufacturing plant in the southern Nevada desert. Reid has been one of the project’s most prominent advocates, helping recruit the company during a 2011 trip to China and applying his political muscle on behalf of the project in Nevada. His son, a lawyer with a prominent Las Vegas firm that is representing ENN, helped it locate a 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) desert site that it is buying well below appraised value from Clark County, where Rory Reid formerly chaired the county commission.
In 2014, according to the Nevada business records, Reid Bunkerville LLC, and other related entities, held parcels adjacent to the Bundy Ranch. In June of 2014, the BLM auctioned parcels of the Dry Lake Energy Solar Zone to three developers. One developer, First Solar, had already received $3 billion in tax-payer funded loans from the Barack Obama administration.
Building large solar factories yield construction, traffic and noise. Perhaps, this is the trifecta of protection for the desert tortoise?
Environmental Justice or Retributive Justice?
When federal snipers abandoned their mission, after shooting and burying dozens of Bundy’s cattle, federal charges were brought against the Bundy’s and Ryan Payne, giving a green light for Harry Reid and Golden Butte environmental groups to press for the federal expansion of Nevada’s lands—up to the Bundy’s front door.
In July 2015, Harry Reid persuaded President Obama to set aside 700,000 acres of Nevada land as a national monument. At the end of 2016, Obama gave Harry Reid a retirement gift with another use of The Antiquities Act, creating another national monument out of 300,000 acres near Bundy’s compound.
Using the Bundy standoff as a political tool, Harry Reid referred to the Bundy’s as “domestic terrorists.” Environmentalists referred to them as “extremists.” As one activist admits to Jon Ralston:
“Ironically, it also put Gold Butte on the map both nationally and locally as a rallying cry to beat back extremism.” Megan Jones, an ex-Reidite further explained: “Through extensive research and polling other political advocacy groups determined that amping up hits on Bundy and tying the Bundy doctrine of land management around every elected official’s neck was the only way to beat them at their own game. Every move they made to hit Bundy was an attempt to ensure there was the political will for Obama and Jewell to do their job when the timing was right. Based on the election results in Nevada, I would say that we were successful in making sure that support for Bundy was toxic.”
Ironically, Judge Navarro’s verdict revealed the toxicity of corruption and government force, and the toxic hypocrisy of their political community organizers: environmental justice organizations.
President Trump has widely reversed the unconstitutional federal land grab in many states, but he has yet to reduce, or eliminate, the size and scope of these Obama executive orders in Nevada. Judge Navarro saw through the prosecutorial toxicity and rendered a fair verdict. Now, it is President Trump’s turn to universally restore the sense of justice which had been grossly violated by many of these environmental fraudsters, political opportunists, and tyrannical bureaucrats.
This piece is dedicated to Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, his family, the Bundy family, Ryan Payne, and the thousands of Americans who stood with them.