This story was originally published by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Subscribe to the podcast and learn more at revealnews.org.
It was an anti-government rebellion in the Nevada sagebrush — with hefty taxpayer subsidies for the rebels.
In June, tough-talking ranchers in remote Battle Mountain, Nev., defied the federal government, herding cattle onto public rangeland that had been closed to grazing to protect it during the West’s scorching drought.
That act of defiance capped two years of protest against grazing restrictions imposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which manages thousands of square miles of arid federal land in Nevada.
In the end, the federal government backed down from the confrontation in Battle Mountain. The BLM canceled the drought closures and opened the range, just as the cattlemen wanted.
By denying the severity of the drought — and by claiming that “rogue” federal bureaucrats threatened them with economic ruin — the ranchers won the day. But even as the conflict played out, some of these same ranchers were colle... Read more