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Gov. Brian Sandoval attacks BLM in cattle roundup controversy

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Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Gov. Brian Sandoval attacks BLM in cattle roundup controversy

By Jennifer Kastner. CREATED Apr 8, 2014

Bunkerville, NV (KTNV) -- Gov. Brian Sandoval released the following statement on Tuesday in regards to the controversial cattle roundup near Bunkerville, Nevada.

"Due to the roundup by the BLM, my office has received numerous complaints of BLM conduct, road closures and other disturbances. I have recently met with state legislators, county officials and concerned citizens to listen to their concerns.

I have expressed those concerns directly to the BLM.  Most disturbing to me is the BLM's establishment of a 'First Amendment Area' that tramples upon Nevadans' fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution.

To that end, I have advised the BLM that such conduct is offensive to me and countless others and that the 'First Amendment Area' should be dismantled immediately.

No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans.

The BLM needs to reconsider its approach to this matter and act accordingly."

At the center of much of the situation is the Cliven Bundy cattle ranching family. They express to Action News they are somewhat pleased with the statement, but they still believe it's weaker than it should be. Family member Ryan Bundy feels like the governor should take a position on the issue as whole, rather than just speaking out about the concerns over demonstrators' constitutional rights.

The BLM established 'First Amendment Areas' in two zones of the public land that are temporarily closed for the roundup. It maintains that it established these areas to provide safe space in which demonstrators can voice their concerns, rather than forcing them to take the additional steps to get permits that they'd ordinarily need.

In response to that, Ryan Bundy said, "Whenever you designate an area, then you're restricting it everywhere else. When you designate an area like that for first amendment rights, you [don't] give the people any rights. You [take them] away, and every other location."

Action News requested a BLM response to the governor's statement. BLM officials said it will provide a response on Wednesday afternoon.

Jennifer Kastner

Jennifer Kastner

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Jennifer Kastner is a general assignment reporter for Action News.