The Evils of the Bureau of Land Management

Introduction:

One of the less known government agencies is the BLM or the Bureau of Land Management, but it has one of the largest effects. Many people think of the Bureau as a good thing, an agency that helps conserve the earth and gives people land that they can explore without trespassing. But if you ask around the ranching community or research deeply into the Bureau you will find out how much of an awful agency it really is. I was raised in the ranching community and I have a father that has many connections in the community, and he can complain about the BLM for an hour straight, and every time I talk to him about it, which is often, I learn something new about the awful agency. However I cannot use his stories in the essay due to him not giving me sources for his stories, he gets them from other ranchers and so there aren’t sources, and so I will explain purely off of my own research.

Wild Horse Conservation:

One of the things that attract people to the BLM is that they promise conservation of wildlife and land, but what they actually do is the exact opposite. A few years back the government decided to shut down all kill plants in the United States, a kill plant is where people would send a cripple horse or a horse that is wild or that is just a crappy horse altogether, and ever since these kill plants have been shut down people have either been forced to keep their killer horses or they have sent their horses to kill plants in Mexico, and since the kill plants in Mexico are grossly inhumane compared to the ones that used to be in the US most people decide to just keep their killer horses. This is a major issue in the ranching community because now ranchers are forced to feed a horse that is either cripple or crappy, but either way a horse they won’t use, and this racks up quite the bill over time, and there were also ranchers that made a lot of income off of purely trading killer horses, my dad made all his income off of this trade for quite some time. This means that there is a large source of income taken away and there is a large bill added to ranchers, and this has majorly hurt the ranching community. The BLM attempted to make a solution to this that would please the ranchers and the environmentalists, and their solution was the horse conservation program. They would take these killer horses and put them on public land. This seems like a great idea since they are saving horses lives doesn’t it? It originally was a good idea but how they have conducted the program is an utter failure. They put way too many horses on one piece of land, and after a few months, the horses will have totally grazed away all the grass on that land which means that the land the agency was out to save is ruined and the horses have no food. This means that many have died, and it has also forced the BLM to buy large amounts of hay from farmers, which increases taxes on the average person. But even after buying large amounts of hay they cannot feed all the horses, and they do not wish to continue spending so much so they are voting on whether or not to butcher 45,000 horses. This whole program has been a massive failure which could easily be solved by opening up the kill plants that were closed down.

Running Off Private Land Owners:

Another issue with the BLM is that whenever they try and buy land from a private landowner they tend to offer a large sum of money more than what the land is worth, and usually, the owners accept. This means that a lot of lands that was once used for ranching or farming is now used for a public park which has no real benefit to anyone except recreational value. This also drives up prices of land by making other people want to sell land for those extravagant prices. This means that it is much harder for small farmers and ranchers to buy land. Whenever small farmers and ranchers can’t buy land all the land tends to go to a small group of the rich, and the rich don’t normally use this land for ranching or farming, rather they use it for hunting or hiking, all stuff that has no benefit to the economy and harms the ranching community. And since there are fewer ranchers due to the rich holding more and more land that also means that there are fewer jobs for the local cowboys, and the jobs they get are very low paying so they need to be able to get as many jobs as possible to live. This causes cowboys to either leave the area or leave the ranching community as a whole, and this also majorly hurts the community. It works very much as a domino effect, but most people don’t realize this because they have been raised in the community. This is just another example of how the BLM has hurt the ranching community.

The Bundy Case:

One of the main reasons that I became a libertarian was because of the Cliven Bundy Case in Oregon where a group of mostly ranchers and farmers joined together to fight against the government. The case ended with the murder of an innocent man and the Bundies in federal jail. And the cause of this case was the BLM. The BLM demanded 1 million dollars from Cliven Bundy in withheld grazing fees. The fees had wracked up due to Bundy’s use of federal land that was adjacent to his private land. This means that the whole case that took one man’s life and had the potential to take much more started over “grazing fees”. It’s ridiculous that it was such a large bill but the fact that there are grazing fees, in general, is ridiculous. Grazing land helps the land itself, this is common knowledge if you were born in the ranching community, this means that Bundy grazing the BLM lands helped both parties, it helped Bundy by giving him extra feed, and it helped the BLM by helping their land. But the leaders of the BLM are so ignorant on agriculture that they didn’t realize this, and so they charge a single farmer a million dollars, which is a sum most teachers cannot pay. Another thing that added to the conflict was that Bundy conducted a controlled burn. This is a technique used in ranching where a rancher burns a pasture that is in poor conditions, and it majorly helps the land, it kills all the invader’s weeds, and the ashes work as a sort of fertilizer. Even though he was helping the government land it was portrayed by the media and the BLM as him burning their land in defiance. If not for the BLM’s pure incompetence the case would have never happened and LaVoy Finnicum would still be alive, plus the Bundy family wouldn’t be in jail.

Legal Matters:

(Note: this is a story from my father that I could not find a source on so this may or may not have actually happened, but it is very possible for cases similar to this to arise.) The BLM allows private landowners to rent land, such as they had done with Cliven Bundy, and it’s an awful deal for the private landowners but it gives them land that they need so they do it. But anyway, there was a man that was renting land from the BLM and he used the land to run a herd of sheep, and the herd was guarded by sheepdogs. Well since it was public land people can come onto his land and mess with his livestock, and that’s exactly what happened. Two people walked through his land and stumbled upon his livestock. They had never been in the country so they did not know to be cautious around the livestock and they ended up getting bit by the sheepdogs since they were attempted to mess with the sheep. Because of this happening the landowner was taken to court and sued for massive sums of money. This means that a rancher was sued due to other people’s incompetence. This shows how much of a messed up the BLM really is, but as I said this may or may not be true.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, though the BLM may have noble ideals they are an awful organization. They attempt to conserve the land and the livestock yet they have programs such as the horse conservation program that hurts both. Another reason they cannot preserve the land is because they invite people who have never been in the country to come explore their parks, and those people end up leaving trash all over the land and ruining it. The BLM also has major legal flaws which have produced massive repercussions such as the Bundy Case. Overall the BLM is an awful organization that either needs massive reform or needs to be abolished altogether.

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