Christi Turner writes a balanced account in the Goat Blog of the High Country News

“When I decided that I was paying grazing fees for somebody to manage me out of business, I said, ‘Hell no,’ ” Bundy says in a video
of a presentation he gave in February. “And what did I tell them? I no
longer need your service as a manager over my ranch, and I’m not going
to pay you for that no more.”
“As far as I’m concerned,” he adds, “the BLM don’t exist.” The federal government might as well not, either.
Despite a running tab of court injunctions,
complaints and conservation conflicts involving the BLM, the National
Park Service, Clark County and environmental groups, and nearly $1
million in fines, Bundy has continued to run cattle on the
federally-owned Bunkerville Allotment in the southern tip of Nevada,
about 100 miles from Las Vegas. Over the years, the Department of
Justice has more than once canceled BLM plans to round up the trespass
cattle after blatant threats of violence from Bundy and his supporters,
says Alan O’Neill, retired superintendent of the Lake Mead National
Recreation Area adjacent to the allotment. The sieges at Ruby Ridge and Waco that fueled the ‘90s anti-government militia
movement were fresh, he explains. “We were trying everything we could
to resolve the issue peacefully. But he got more and more recalcitrant.”
This week, though, the BLM finally began rounding up Bundy’s estimated 900 cattle from a 1,200 square-mile area,
putting an end to the illegal grazing once and for all.  The agency
isn’t saying exactly why now is the time to act; O’Neill suspects that
the threat of lawsuit
from the Center for Biological Diversity against the local and federal
government for not implementing existing court orders may have forced
the agency’s hand.
The situation quickly escalated. One of Bundy’s sons was arrested Sunday for refusing to stay off the lands BLM has closed during the cattle roundup.  Videos from Wednesday show Bundy family members and supporters, including out-of-state militia
members, angrily cursing and gesturing at BLM agents attempting to
contain them within a “First Amendment Area” set up for protesting. More
out-of-state militia members claim to be on the way, saying “they’re going in with force.” While Gov. Brian Sandoval disapproves
of BLM’s handling of the situation, others applauded the agency for
showing restraint in the face of threats. It was Bundy’s own promise to
“be more physical” with the BLM during the impoundment operation, after
all, that led the agency to set up strict public protest areas and press
policies in the first place. “This is incendiary stuff,” former Nevada
Gov. Richard Bryan said on a Nevada news show
Thursday, expressing fear of more violence on the way. “Some of these
folks are frankly half a bubble off…People really believe that the
federal government has no jurisdiction over anything.”
If you believe in the authority of the federal government over public
lands – established unequivocally in the U.S. Constitution – there is
ample justification for the impoundment… In 1999, the Nevada District Court permanently banned Bundy from
grazing cattle in the area, ordering him to remove them or face a $200
penalty per cow per day. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the
injunction. Between 2008 and 2011, the BLM cancelled Bundy’s remaining
range improvement authorizations. In 2011 Bundy ignored several court
orders, including a notice of impoundment. Over the next two years, the
BLM aerially counted first 903, then 729, then 600, then 750 head of
cattle, nearly all suspected to belong to Bundy, on land closed to

Nevada – with the highest percent of federal land
of any state – has long been a hotbed of antifederal resentment,
especially among cattle ranchers. But even in that universe, the Bundy
scenario is extreme among public land ranching battles, says Greta
Anderson, deputy director of the Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit
that monitors grazing on Western public lands
.“I just hope no one gets hurt, and I hope the cows go off and stay off.”