National Parks Service or NPS, along with contract cowboys working at
their direction, began rounding up what they call “trespass” cattle
belonging to a northern Clark County ranch near the Virgin River which
has been owned and operated by the Bundy family for several decades.
On Sunday, federal agents arrested ranch owner Cliven Bundy’s
37-year-old son, Dave Bundy, during a peaceful protest along a state
highway in northeast Clark County. Dave Bundy was released from
custody Monday charged with misdemeanors.
Clark County’s Sheriff Doug Gillespie has made it clear that his
office is taking no action, stating, “This is strictly a federal
What is at issue is a relatively new drilling technology which uses
high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to release
large natural gas deposits just below the earth’s surface. It is
controversial in several other parts of the country, despite many
proponents in the oil and gas industry who assert that horizontal
fracking is safe because it’s been around for more than four decades.
Those who protest the practice say that is simply not true.
Hydraulic fracturing has been used to drill vertical wells for that
long, but horizontal fracking has only been experimented with over the
last few years. It’s a new process that uses millions of gallons of
fresh water, sand, many acres of land, and undisclosed proprietary
The suspicions that the Bundy family and other protestors have is that
the BLM is using heavy-handed and possibly unconstitutional tactics to
clear the land for future rights to fracking.
Gordon Martines, the “Constitutional sheriff’s candidate,” contacted
the Las Vegas Tribune to express his “shock, horror and disgust” with
what he sees as clear violations of the Bundy family’s constitutional
rights.” He also said that based on what the current sheriff,
Gillespie, has said, that office is “standing idly by doing nothing”
to assist the distraught ranch operators.
The Bundy family believes there may be more than 900 of their cattle
grazing, just as they have done for several decades, in the 600,000
acre area under dispute. The BLM and NPS have already rounded up and
moved out or “stolen” several hundred head, according to a family
If the BLM’s motivations for the questionable interference in the
Bundy’s family business is for using the land for industrial purposes,
this makes it bitterly ironic: The federal government, in the form of
the BLM and the NPS, has used an environmental excuse as the pretense
for protecting the threatened desert tortoise; to then proceed with a
land grab to secure future drilling sites with the potential for huge
fracking profits is disconcerting, according to Martines, the Bundy
family and other family advisors.
“I am 150 percent behind the Bundy’s, and they will have my full
support in stopping this government takeover of their [livestock],
livelihood and lives,” Martines said.
As with any industrial activity, producing oil and gas involves risks
to the air, land, water, wildlife and communities There has been an
increase in the number of complaints about harmful air emissions,
water pollution and serious problems associated with the disposal of
fracking chemical waste fluids in communities near fracking sites.