Richard Vigurie is the king of conservative direct mail campaigns and he’s become quite rich raising vast sums of money from conservative groups. He also either doesn’t have Google or he’s just plain lying about the Bundy Ranch standoff and the subject of grazing fees in this column at the Worldnetdaily.
The BLM claims the Bundys owe the feds more than $1 million in fees and penalties.
Bundy notes that these fees were never authorized by Congress or passed into law. The BLM just started charging them on its own, without congressional statute. According to the U.S. Constitution, Congress makes the laws in America, not the BLM.
Never authorized by Congress? Let’s set the Wayback Machine for 1934, when Congress passed the Taylor Grazing Act. It established the U.S. Grazing Service, which was authorized to give permits for grazing on public lands, permits that came with a grazing fee. In 1946, the Grazing Service merged with the General Land Office and became the Bureau of Land Management.
Then in 1978, Congress passed the Public Rangelands Improvement Act, which included a specific schedule of grazing fees:
For the grazing years 1979 through 1985, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior shall charge the fee for domestic livestock grazing on the public rangelands which Congress finds represents the economic value of the use of the land to the user, and under which Congress finds fair market value for public grazing equals the $1.23 base established by the 1966 Western Livestock Grazing Survey multiplied by the result of the Forage Value Index (computed annually from data supplied by the Economic Research Service) added to the Combined Index (Beef Cattle Price Index minus the Price Paid Index) and divided by 100: Provided, That the annual increase or decrease in such fee for any given year shall be limited to not more than plus or minus 25 per centum of the previous year’s fee.
Then in 1986, conservative hero St. Ronald the Magnificent (Ronald Reagan to you and me) extended that grazing fee schedule indefinitely in Executive Order 12548.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and in order to provide for establishment of appropriate fees for the grazing of domestic livestock on public rangelands, it is ordered as follows:
Section 1. Determination of Fees. The Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior are directed to exercise their authority, to the extent permitted by law under the various statutes they administer, to establish fees for domestic livestock grazing on the public rangelands which annually equals the $1.23 base established by the 1966 Western Livestock Grazing Survey multiplied by the result of the Forage Value Index (computed annually from data supplied by the Statistical Reporting Service) added to the Combined Index (Beef Cattle Price Index minus the Prices Paid Index) and divided by 100; provided, that the annual increase or decrease in such fee for any given year shall be limited to not more than plus or minus 25 percent of the previous year’s fee, and provided further, that the fee shall not be less than $1.35 per animal unit month.
I’m sorry, Mr. Vigurie, what was that you were saying about grazing fees not being established by Congress? Were you lying or do you just not care about the truth and blindly accept whatever anyone tells you as long as it fits your preconceived narrative?
Cliven Bundy asks: Why should I be paying the federal government to put me out of business?
Funny, every other rancher in America who has a permit to graze on public land somehow manages to stay in business. Maybe that’s because these grazing fees are only about 1/8th the cost of the fees charged to graze on private land. Bundy is not a hero or a patriot, he’s a deadbeat and a liar.