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Health, Science & Environment

Utah Officials Work to Limit Grazing Dispute

Spencer Cox
Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and Attorney General Sean Reyes meet with officials from the BLM

 Utah’s lieutenant governor and attorney general have brokered an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management not to bring cattle taken from public land in Nevada to a livestock auction in Utah.

This week, BLM officials started rounding up cattle belonging to the Bundy family from land the family has used for generations.  Federal courts have determined the cattle are trespassing, and the family owes more than a million dollars in grazing fees.

Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox says agency officials had been planning to bring those cattle to a livestock auction in Monroe, Utah.  That brought protests and even threats of violence from supporters of the Nevada ranchers.

“We’re hoping that cooler heads prevail," Cox told KUER, "but we have already had the auction disrupted, even though the cattle have not been here.    There were protests last week.  We understand that there were protests being scheduled this week as well.  The war of words is definitely escalating for anybody that’s followed what’s happened between the BLM and the Bundy family down there.”

Cox says Utah could benefit from the situation since the agency has agreed to reduce the number of wild horses on rangeland in southern Utah.  That decision, though, has been criticized by advocacy groups, who say the law gives priority to protecting wild horses over privately-owned livestock.

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