It is becoming abundantly clear that the public “servants” assigned to manage federal public lands in the West don’t want any stinking private land ownership anywhere near their vast, wide-open nature communes.
Add to the cases involving the Hammond family ranchers in Oregon in which a father and son face five years in prison under an antiterrorism law for letting fires accidentally spread to 140 acres of public land causing less than $1,000 in damages and the Hage family ranchers who have been denied grazing and water rights and even the Bundy ranch near Bunkerville where grazing rights were curtailed to protect tortoises though no damage to tortoises was ever shown and the ranchers of the Battle Mountain area who were denied grazing rights though the lack of grazing increased the likelihood of wildfire and the Texas rancher whose land is claimed by the BLM because they discovered it is next to the Red River, add to these the case of a mine owner criminally charged and facing 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for grading the dirt road leading to his privately held mine inside the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and causing $1,540 in damages to public dirt.
As reported today by the Las Vegas newspaper, the owner of the 215-acre Anniversary Mine and an employee were charged on Nov. 24 for “unauthorized” road work performed in March that “willfully” injured government property. The mine existed before the lake was built.
The key word is unauthorized. You see mine owner Robert Earl Ford tried to get permission to improve, even pave, the 2.5-mile road, two-thirds of which is on federal land, after his insurance company threatened to cancel his liability insurance because of the danger the road poses to tourists who use it to access the popular Anniversary Narrows. The feds denied his requests, because that’s what feds do.
If Ford can’t safely access his land to mine limestone, the federal government has effectively taken his land under the Fifth Amendment. That’s what feds do — overreact, overcharge and lord over.