Reports: Company Tied to Reid's Son Wants Land in Bundy Standoff

Image: Reports: Company Tied to Reid's Son Wants Land in Bundy Standoff Rory Reid

Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 08:48 PM

By Greg Richter

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The Nevada rancher who forced the federal Bureau of Land Management to back down last week may have been targeted because a Chinese solar company with ties to Sen. Harry Reid's son wants the land for an energy plant, several websites report.

A report on Godfatherpolitics.com,  says Chinese energy giant ENN Energy Group wants to use federal land as part of its effort to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel-building plant in the southern Nevada desert. Rory Reid, the son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is representing ENN in their efforts to locate in Nevada.

Part of the land ENN wants to use was purchased from Clark County at well below appraised value. Rory Reid is the former Clark County Commission chairman, and he persuaded the commission to sell 9,000 acres of county land to ENN on the promise it would provide jobs for the area, Reuters reported in 2012.

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In addition to the county acreage, the federal Bureau of Land Management at one time was looking at BLM property under dispute with cattle rancher Cliven Bundy. The BLM is headed by former Harry Reid senior policy adviser Neil Kornz.

According to BizPac Review, BLM documents indicate that the federal property for which Bundy claims grazing rights were under consideration by a solar energy company. Those documents have since been removed from BLM's website, but BizPac quotes from one of them:

"Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle."

"Trespass cattle" is a reference to Bundy's herd. Bundy's family has grazed cattle on the land since the 1870s, and Bundy maintains he has grazing rights to the federal land. But he hasn't paid his federal grazing fees in 20 years in a dispute with the BLM.

BLM agents hired contract cowboys earlier this year to seize hundreds of head of cattle and were moving in to seize the rest when militia members from across the country and other supporters showed up last week.

Citing a dangerous situation, the BLM backed off its efforts and returned Bundy's cattle Saturday, but it has vowed to continue fighting him in court and administratively.

In its effort to get Bundy off the land, it has attempted to get him to reduce his 1,000-head herd to 150, The Blaze's Dana Loesch reports. Bundy says his ranch would not be viable with a herd that small.

The BLM claims a need to control grazing on the land to protect an endangered desert tortoise. But Loesch and others note that in August, the tortoise population in a nearby conservation center was set to be euthanized because of underfunding.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied those reports, saying that only unhealthy tortoises would be euthanized and others would be relocated. But KVVU-TV in Las Vegas reported that the agency didn't say how many of the tortoises in its care were deemed "healthy."

Further, Loesch reports, Harry Reid pressured the BLM to change the tortoise's protected zone to accommodate developer Harvey Whittemore, one of the Democrat's top donors. Whittemore was convicted in May 2013 of making illegal campaign contributions to him.

"BLM has proven that they’ve a situational concern for the desert tortoise as they’ve had no problem waiving their rules concerning wind or solar power development," Loesch writes.

"Clearly, these developments have vastly affected a tortoise habitat more than a century-old, quasi-homesteading grazing area. If only Clive Bundy were a big Reid donor."

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