BLM plans Friday auction in Reno for seized cattle

Las Vegas Sun

RENO, Nev. (AP) - 5/28/02 -The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled an auction Friday to sell 157 attle the agency seized last week from a Western Shoshone tribe in northeast Nevada for alleged grazing violations on federal land.

Tribal leaders insist the federal government stole their cattle and are pursuing legal options to block the sale.

Unlike a similar cattle auction last fall when tempers steamed and demonstrators heckled potential bidders at the BLM's wild horse facility in Palomino Valley, Friday's auction is planned at the federal agency's headquarters in Reno, BLM spokeswoman Jo Simpson said Tuesday.

"We decided this would be a better place to have it," Simpson said. "The people who want to see the cattle before they bid can arrange to do that."

On auction day, the BLM will accept bids that are delivered by hand or faxed for one hour, ending at 9 a.m, Simpson said. The livestock is to be sold in three lots.

The 157 head were seized from the Western Shoshone's South Fork Te-Moak Livestock Association on Friday. The tribe estimates the cattle to be worth $100,000.

"My feeling is that they have stolen those cows," tribal spokesman Raymond Yowell said Tuesday. "They have not complied with Nevada law. The brand inspector didn't comply with Nevada law. I never conveyed ownership."

Yowell said the tribe was assessing its legal options.

The association held a federal grazing permit to graze cattle on the lands from 1940 to 1984, but quit paying the fees to the BLM in 1984, claiming tribal title to the public land.

"It goes right back to the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley," Yowell said. "The United States has not shown how they acquired our territory and that's why we're not paying.

"They seized the cows without showing us how the got the territory."

Last November, about 50 demonstrators and states' rights activists protested outside the gates to the BLM's wild horse corrals in Palomino Valley north of Reno when the agency auctioned off 62 head of cattle confiscated from Goldfield rancher Ben Colvin.

Those cattle were purchased by a 19-year-old California man who used his grandmother's credit card to purchase the lot for $13,000 - about $30,000 below their estimated value.

That sale came after protesters thwarted an August attempt to sell the confiscated livestock at a Fallon auction yard by jeering the BLM and shouting at potential buyers not to bid.

The environmental organizations, especially the World Wildlife Fund, are actively involved in promoting the Wildlands Projects.  The Global Biodiversity Assessment, which is the 1,140 page document defining the manner in which the Biodiversity Treaty (which incorporates the Wildlands Project), is accomplished.  It decries nonsustainable items like grazing of livestock, fencing of pastures, modern farm production, logging, fossil fuels, etc.

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