weather icon Clear

Presidential candidate Paul favors federal land transfers

MESQUITE — Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul told an audience in Mesquite that he supports relinquishing federal management of public lands.

Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, stumped Monday in a Southern Nevada town not far from the 2014 armed standoff between armed federal agents and Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters over a cattle roundup.

Bundy’s son, Ryan Bundy, asked Paul about what role the federal government should play.

“I’d either sell or turn over all the land management to the states,” Paul said, drawing a hearty round of applause from an audience of about 80 in Eureka Casino that included the elder Bundy.

The tense April 2014 armed standoff, which included militia members supporting Bundy, unfolded after the rancher didn’t pay grazing fees for using public lands for more than 20 years and wound up owing the federal government more than $1 million in fees.

The Bureau of Land Management rounded up most of Bundy’s herd of 500 cows, only to allow their release to avoid bloodshed in the armed standoff.

The range cows, released from a corral off Interstate 15 between Bunkerville and Mesquite, about 80 miles north of Las Vegas, continue to graze on public federal lands.

“State ownership would be better, but even better would be private ownership,” said Paul, the son of former Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, who ran for president as a Libertarian and sought the GOP nomination.

In the 1830s and 1840s the federal government sold land readily, Paul said, adding that now “you run into problems with the federal government being this bully.”

Paul pivoted to broader themes beyond the standoff, criticizing as burdensome how the federal Endangered Species Act is enforced. In one small Kentucky town, he said, a sewer plant that wanted to expand to prevent the dumping of sewage into a river first had to do a study of the impact on pocketbook mussels.

“The government’s gone way too far,” Paul told the friendly audience of the libertarian-leaning enclave.

In an interview, Paul said he doesn’t have a concrete plan for changing federal public lands management. He said he believes land sales, or a transfer to state ownership, or a combination would be a good idea.

That would keep residents in far-flung states from being forced to deal with distant bureaucracies, Paul said.

“It’s a long way to Washington,” Paul said. “That’s why people came out here — to get the heck out of government.”

About 81 percent of Nevada is under the control of different federal agencies, with the BLM overseeing the largest share.

“It would be easier if it were done more locally,” Paul said, adding that more local involvement would help avoid situations like the standoff.

In an interview, Cliven Bundy said Paul’s focus on the U.S. Constitution, limited federal government and pulling public lands out of federal control lines up with his values.

“We’re a little bit like Obama — we’re ready for a change,” Bundy said, smiling at his obvious dig at President Barack Obama’s call for change during his campaign for a first term in 2008.

Mesquite was part of a four-stop tour Paul did Monday in Nevada that included Reno, Elko and Las Vegas.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Pahrump Animal Shelter services contract decision set for Tuesday

The current contract for operation of the Pahrump Animal Shelter is almost at an end and the Nye County Commission must make the decision as to which organization the new contract will be awarded to.

Pahrump Valley Times refreshes its website

The website of the Pahrump Valley Times — pvtimes.com — features a refreshed look unveiled this week.

California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Wednesday, June 12 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $53 million.

Flag Day ceremony in Pahrump honoring veterans

Nathan Adelson Hospice announced it will be holding a special “We Honor Veterans” pinning ceremony today, June 14 in Pahrump to coincide with Flag Day.

Yucca Mountain back on television

In a made-for-TV visit to the proposed burial site for the nation’s nuclear waste in Nye County, Nevada’s senior senator vows to block efforts to restart licensing process.

Air ambulance company responds to Pahrump transport cost concerns

The director of communications and government affairs of Air Methods, the parent company of Pahrump’s Mercy Air, has issued a response regarding the circumstances of a Pahrump resident who was billed more than $50,000 for an air ambulance flight from Pahrump to a Las Vegas medical facility.

1 transported to UMC Trauma after Nevada Highway 160 crash

Crews from Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services responded to what was described as a suspicious vehicle fire on Saturday, June 8 at approximately 9:41 p.m.

Nye County District Attorney’s Report

Editor’s note: The Nye County District Attorney’s Report is provided by the office of DA Chris Arabia. Plans call for it to be provided on a monthly basis as the information becomes available. This report is for May 2019 unless noted. Duplicate names represent separate cases.