Utah ranchers renounce federal control of their lands at gathering with ties to Oregon occupation
Amid escalating tensions over federal land management, eight Utah ranchers on Saturday pledged to disavow their contracts regulating their use of public land to graze their cattle.
The men made their declarations at a "property rights" workshop in Cedar City, just days before the illegal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge took a tragic turn with the death of Arizona rancher Robert "LaVoy" Finicum on Tuesday.
Back in November, Finicum addressed a packed meeting of a Piute County ranchers association, urging those present to follow his lead of taking control of their grazing lands under the rationale that these were not public lands, but ranchers', by rights of years of "productive beneficial use."
On Saturday some of these ranchers agreed to sign notices of "withdrawal of consent" to be governed, in essence rejecting the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service's authority to regulate use of their grazing allotments.