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Hey, Cliven Bundy, thanks!

bundyranch1He’s a racist, he’s a bully, he’s an anarchist! But Cliven Bundy has unwittingly done American taxpayers a favor – he has let you in on an issue that most people aren’t aware of: livestock grazing on federal land.

Much of the current land owned by the federal government was acquired from England, France, Spain, and other countries after the American Revolution. Congress directed that the territories be explored, surveyed, and made available for settlement. Some of the land was sold or given to various interests including homesteaders, railroads, mining companies, and Indian tribes. Over time, the remaining public lands were viewed as valuable resources to be managed in a way that “will best meet the present and future needs of the American people.” This included leasing the lands to ranchers for grazing privileges.

However, according to the Western Watersheds Project, the current public land grazing fee of $1.35 per month for one cow and her calf is woefully below market value, constituting an annual net loss to the taxpayers of at least $123 million and more than $500 million when indirect costs are accounted for. As much as 96% of these public dollars are spent to enhance livestock production in direct conflict with legal mandates to restore the health of public lands.

In addition, public lands ranching significantly contributes to climate change by emissions of the nitrous oxide and methane. Ranching is one of the primary causes of native species endangerment in the American West and is the most significant cause of non-point source water pollution and desertification. Watch what grazing does:

Thanks to Bundy, now the American press is starting to talk about this (see links below). And with any luck, American tax payers will take notice and begin to make their voices heard. Here’s what is being subsidized with your tax dollars:

– Cheap meat

– Loss of species

– Animal suffering

– Global warming

– Water pollution

– and for folks like Cliven Bundy to believe that they are the “true” patriots!

 To learn more, see:

EcoWatch http://ecowatch.com/2014/04/15/blm-battle-at-bundy-ranch/

Forbes Magazine  http://www.forbes.com/sites/vickeryeckhoff/2014/04/25/federal-grazing-program-in-bundy-dispute-rips-off-taxpayers-wild-horses/

 NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/28/opinion/krugman-high-plains-moochers.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0

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