Say the ranchers:
"Federal Agencies Deploying Lawyers, Regs
To Get Rancher Resources Without Paying"
by Steve Miller
copyright © 1997, Electric Nevada
|"Basically, I call it 'shaking the tree,' said George Benesch.|
| The one-time resource economist for
the U.S. Forest Service's Toiyabe national forest was
describing his old agency's aggressive actions in recent
years toward ranchers in Nevada and across the West.
Benesch -- now an attorney specializing in water and grazing issues -- currently represents the R.O. ranch in the Monitor Valley water adjudication proceedings.
He's one of a number of Nevadans who charged, in recent interviews with Electric Nevada, that the Forest Service nowadays regularly deploys legal and administrative initiatives for the purpose of getting privately owned resources away from U.S. citizens without paying them fair market prices.
In the Monitor Valley water fight, say these Nevadans, the federal government is pursuing this strategy on a 'macro' scale, by seeking to create broad new legal precedents in both state and federal law.
Simarly, on the 'micro' level, goes the allegation, Forest Service officials routinely and knowingly today subject individual ranchers and farmers to regulatory harassment designed to drive them off the range.
people right and
left," one Nye County rancher told Electric Nevada
last August. "I can name 20 ranchers that have gone
out there trying to
make a living."
about eminent domain," he said. "If the government needs [the resource], they can come in and they can file an eminent domain suit. If there's a public purpose, they can get [the property or resource] right away; they don't have to wait for any kind of a trial or anything...The only issue is, they have to pay fair market value. Well, they don't want to pay fair market value. That's what rubs them the wrong way."
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