The BLM history, Reagan and his failed fight against the federal agenda.

The trouble with the federal government is its agendas and directions change.  Maybe good, maybe bad, but it changes, and once the “administrative government” part takes hold it is hard to uncurl their fingers from whatever they prefer to survive.

The way it used to be.









I read an article that reminded of the source of the current dust up between the Hammonds and the BLM.  Here is the moment the world changed for the ranchers out west.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act, or FLPMA (Pub.L. 94–579), is a United States federal law that governs the way in which the public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management are managed. The law was enacted in 1976 by the 94th Congress and is found in the United States Code under Title 43. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act phased out homesteading in the United States by repealing the pre-existing Homestead Acts.

Congress recognized the value of the public lands, declaring that these lands would remain in public ownership. The National Forest Service, National Park Service, and now, the Bureau of Land Management, are commissioned in FLPMA to allow a variety of uses on their land (of greater concern for the BLM, who is the least restrictive in terms of uses) while simultaneously trying to preserve the natural resources in them. This concept is best summarized by the term ‘multiple-use.’ ‘Multiple use’ is defined in the Act as “management of the public lands and their various resource values so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people.” FLPMA addresses topics such as land use planning, land acquisition, fees and payments, administration of federal land, range management, and right-of-ways on federal land. FLPMA has specific objectives and time frames in which to accomplish these objectives, giving it more authority and eliminating the uncertainty surrounding the BLM’s role in wilderness designation and management.

Parts of FLPMA relating specifically to Wilderness are found under the heading Designated Management. Here, the BLM is also given power to designate Wilderness and are given 15 years to do so.


Put a bunch of environmentalists inside the agency and you can see how they could and did use the law to eliminate what they considered were “blights” on the land- ranchers and farmers and loggers. Here is a good link with a little more verbiage.  Read the intent and you’ll see the eagerness to change directions.  An early version of “man is the problem with the earth” philosophy.

(a) The Congress, recognizing the profound impact of man’s activity on the interrelations of all components of the natural environment, particularly the profound influences of population growth, high-density urbanization, industrial expansion, resource exploitation, and new and expanding technological advances and recognizing further the critical importance of restoring and maintaining environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of man, declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.


You can already see the drift starting even back in 1969.  By the eighties it was a conflict.  By the Clinton hippie administration it was war (and where I got my idea for the book).  An and it is all out war, using the power of government and dubious legal actions to drive the virus that is man off the land.


Now this is how it is. Not what was intended at all.

This is why those who say government shouldn’t be given any new power or authority have a valid point. They will abuse it to further their own agendas.

Even Ronald Reagan, who became President, was with the rebels here.  But even as President, he couldn’t get the behemoth to change directions.

“…The administration launched a huge political fight in 1982 when it planned to sell federal land to private owners in an effort to raise money to apply to the federal budget deficit. This wasn’t what the rebels wanted. After all, sales to private owners would likely limit the grazing agreements that ranchers enjoyed with the government. “If they press ahead with any large-scale land sales in the West,” political scientist Gregg Cawley told the Times that April, “it is just going to get the Reagan people embroiled in a whole new debate they can’t win, because it’s going to unite dyed-in-the-wool sagebrush rebels with environmentalists.” While “unite” was probably a strong word, it’s definitely the case that both environmental groups and advocates of turning the land over to the states offered opposition.

It was largely the environmentalists that doomed Reagan’s plan. Former Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt (himself an eventual secretary of the interior under President Bill Clinton) argued that the Reagan effort stirred up a sleeping Western conservation movement. Environmentalists filed a lawsuit blocking the federal land sales and began state-level pushes to protect the land from mining and deforestation. “They did us a favor back then,” Babbitt told the Times in 1985, referring to the Reagan plan, “by raising that old ghost for one more visitation, and now I think it’s dead for keeps.”

“With the advent of the Reagan administration and the dismantling of the Federal trusteeship, there was a spontaneous awakening all over the West,” he said.

In a 1984 post-mortem on the movement, the conservative Cato Institute gave credit to Watt for “dissipating the momentum of the Sagebrush Rebellion” by making federal land managers more responsive to the states with whom they worked. During his confirmation hearings, Watt suggested that the rebellion be “defused” by doing precisely that. Once in power, he did. (Watt later resigned in disgrace.)

The roots of the current dispute in Oregon — which is based in part on federal land ownership — extend back to the earliest days of the country. An uprising against that ownership three decades ago was snuffed out by an unlikely party: Ronald Reagan. ..”

I may disagree with the WP on who was ultimately responsible. There were a lot of moving parts and a lot of politics.  My point is the government changed its goal in order to no longer sell or allow the use of “public land” to private industry- i.e. farmers, ranchers and loggers.  They began the decades long effort to “legally” harass, abuse and squeeze out people who had worked that land for generations.

The lesson to take away here, is if given the chance, the government will do you wrong.  As citizens, you have to very careful which power you give it, and then be vigilant when you do.

Which is why you cannot let them near your Second Amendment rights. We have already given up too much.  Truth is there is nothing Constitutional about the government having the right to “background” you before you own a gun.  Make it illegal to use a gun in a crime or be in possession if you are a convicted felon, sure.  But to vet a citizen BEFORE he accesses his Constitutional right is wrong.

Imagine if we applied that to voters, or more specifically black voters or Hispanic voters or any identifiable group of citizens.  “You can vote, we just have to make sure you are qualified to vote.”

Imagine that outrage.  Wait, we don’t have to imagine it, we see it with voter registration verification.  How many Hispanic and black activists and politicians rage against the idea of making sure the person voting is legally able to vote!  Isn’t that a sort of background check?

Plus, having a bad guy with a gun can’t be as dangerous is having people who shouldn’t vote actually vote in someone who passes laws or starts wars that get hundreds of thousand if not millions of people killed or harmed?


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