Author: Thomas Mitchell

Bundy cattle roundup halted, but debate rages on

Officials of the Bureau of Land Management insist Bunkerville cattle rancher Cliven Bundy “owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million” in unpaid grazing fees for the past two decades. That was why they closed off 600,000 acres of federal public land and started confiscating Bundy’s cattle. But when armed protesters showed up this past weekend, the Director of the BLM Neil Kornze — a former aide to Sen. Harry Reid and a former Elko resident who was named to head up the agency this past week — abruptly called a halt to the roundup. “Based on information...

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Officials confident fracking won’t contaminate lands

Recently the Nevada Division of Minerals held a series of public hearings across the state to obtain comments on its new rules regulating hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, used in oil and natural gas wells. At the hearings Division of Minerals Administrator Rich Perry explained how Nevada’s 20-page revised rules will require groundwater testing before and after drilling, pressure testing of equipment, notifications to landowners before fracking begins and abiding by strict engineering standards. Public comments ranged from the rationally cautious to the histrionic. “We trusted the Bureau of Land Management to protect and preserve our public land so...

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Euthanasia needs to be an option for wild horses

Our government masters too often seem downright schizophrenic. Take the raging debates over what to do about two species — sage grouse and wild horses. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hell bent to list the chicken-sized bird under the Endangered Species Act because they fear the population could become extinct. Such a listing would hurt farmers, ranchers, miners, recreation and oil and gas exploration on public and private land. Yet, the birds are legally hunted in Nevada and other states. One study estimates there are 535,000 sage grouse ranging across 11 Western states, yet between 2001 and...

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Margin Tax Initiative heating up

The battle for votes over Question 3 on this November’s statewide ballot — known as The Education Initiative by its proponents, but as the Margin Tax Initiative by its opponents — is escalating. The Nevada State Education Association managed to gather enough signatures and survive enough court challenges to put before the voters a 2 percent margin tax on all Nevada businesses that gross more than $1 million a year. The union has estimated the tax would bring in $800 million a year in additional funding for K-12 education. The Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative — which...

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Ravens are newest threat to sage grouse

Never are the agencies of the federal government more efficient, more capable than when they are working at diametric cross purposes — canceling out one objective with another. Agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management, which are under the Interior Department, have been doubling down on efforts to save the greater sage grouse habitat across 11 Western states, including Nevada, by shutting down ranching, farming, mining and oil and gas exploration. At the same time the Interior Department has a policy of encouraging and expediting development of renewable energy production on...

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