Follow the money and you’ll inevitably find out what’s really going on.
In the case of Clark County, Nevada, rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management, the leading explanation has been that he hasn’t paid grazing fees and his cattle threaten endangered desert tortoises in the Gold Butte area.
But the fact of the BLM bringing in hundreds of armed rangers with trucks and helicopters seemed over the top for protection of a tortoise that has clearly survived despite more than a century of ranching by the Bundy family, and which the BLM had previously been slaughtering with the excuse that it lacked funding to care for the animals.
As reported by the Associated Press in August, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Southern Las Vegas, funded by the BLM, was looking at killing half of its 1,400 tortoises because it could not afford to keep its doors open since the housing collapse resulted in less income from developers.
So why does the BLM profess to care so much about the fate of tortoises, who seem to be doing fine, in the Gold Butte area?
Certainly it’s not all of the answer because the BLM dispute with Bundy goes back to 1993, but part of the answer may be that Gold Butte also lies inside what the BLM has called the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone, part of the federal government’s plan to put solar power plants and factories on BLM-controlled lands in six Southwestern states.