BUNKERVILLE, Nev. – Officials with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) left the scene of a tense standoff with hundreds of armed supporters of a cattle rancher who is contesting grazing fees the BLM says he owes.
The BLM began rounding up cattle owned by Cliven Bundy because he owes $1 million in unpaid grazing fees. The BLM said Bundy has been illegally grazing his cattle on federal land. However, Bundy argued that his Mormon forebears worked the land long before the BLM was formed.
The confrontation grew increasingly hostile. One of Bundy's sons was arrested and later released, while a Taser was used by authorities during a scuffle with another son . Hundreds of armed supporters formed a blockade to prevent more cattle being impounded. They were encouraged to leave the scene after BLM announced the roundup would stop.
“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,” Neil Kornze, BLM director, said in a statement.
Federal officials used trucks and helicopters to round up Bundy's cattle approximately 900 cattle. Federal officials seized 400 cattle that had been seized last week.