Poor Harry Reid.
The entire world that doesn’t pay heed to the mainstream media thinks he and his son Rory are involved in the Bundy Ranch grazing rights showdown with the Bureau of Land Management, and all he can do is sputter that “this isn’t over” and make vague threats about a mysterious federal task force he plans to sic on rancher Cliven Bundy.
The so-outraged Reid has resorted to calling Bundy’s supporters “domestic terrorists,” loudly and repeatedly, to divert attention from the fact that he actually is involved in the BLM mess — though perhaps not exactly in the way initially thought.
The mainstream media have tried to dismiss the Reid connection by deliberately misrepresenting it. The Las Vegas Sun even seems to think that I personally started the “conspiracy theory” that connects the Reids and a Chinese solar project to Clark County shenanigans. I didn’t, and while it’s flattering to imagine any calumnous catch phrases cast Dingy Harry’s way by yours truly could sway the national agenda, I believe the honor of first blood on that story belongs to Info Wars.
But having now been duly recognized as a rabble rouser, I feel there’s more I should say on the subject.
As I’ve pointed out before, if you follow the money, you’ll eventually start to get a sense of the real story.
In the case of Gold Butte, not Bundy’s personal ranch property, the fight with the Bureau of Land Management goes back years. Basically, for more than a century, the Bundy family has grazed the disputed land. Call me crazy, call me irresponsible, but I think having the free use of something over a hundred years should convey some sort of ownership right.
But the federal government doesn’t see it that way, and in 1993, seemingly at random, the federal government suddenly recognized the local desert tortoise as an endangered species that had to be protected. This resulted in the BLM trying to buy out local ranchers using their own money that had been paid in grazing fees, rather than putting it toward — oh, I dunno — preserving tortoise habitat. Long story short, Bundy got fed up with the BLM and “fired” them — stopped paying his grazing fees. Two decades later, the BLM swooped in to remove Bundy’s cattle, which the feds say are illegally grazing on Gold Butte and surrounding environs.
A couple of points need to be made about tortoises and grazing.
First, the tortoises obviously have done fine over more than a century of coexistence with local cattle. Two, just last year, the Bureau of Land Management was slaughtering same said tortoises at a local conservation center for lack of money to care for them. Both these points cast doubt on the assertion that the whole Bundy Ranch Showdown was to protect an endangered species that was probably being served for lunch in the BLM cafeteria. (Note to Las Vegas Sun: You CAN credit me for starting the BLM-served-tortoise-soup story should it happen to catch on.)
Regarding grazing, the BLM says Bundy’s cattle are illegally grazing on Gold Butte. If that’s the case, then he’s trespassing. And if that’s the case, he shouldn’t owe any grazing fees. If he owes grazing fees, then that implies he has some legal right to use the land, albeit he is expected to pay a tax for it. If that’s the case, then he’s not trespassing and his cattle aren’t there illegally, he is just in arrears. I’m sure this all makes sense to government lawyers and judges who can pull treaties and agreements out of their derrieres to prove their case, but to ordinary folk, this seems like a little bit of circular logic.
But back to Harry Reid.
Obviously, the whole tortoise-grazing fee thing didn’t wash in light of the BLM bringing in an armed 200-man army plus out-of-state backup to round up some cows, which witnesses say were chased to ground in helicopters in some cases. Then some documents on the BLM’s own website came to light.
At first blush, the story that emerged from those documents involved plans by a Chinese energy firm, ENN, represented by Rory Reid, to build a $5 billion project in Laughlin, clear at the south end of the state, and to buy a plot of land in Clark County, where the County Commission, formerly chaired by Rory Reid, voted to sell the land for pennies on the dollar.
As part of what the BLM has termed the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone, alternative energy projects in Clark County would pay into a fund to “mitigate” the Gold Butte and surrounding areas. The Las Vegas Sun (I’m just going to keep picking on you guys) said that the Dry Lake solar zone doesn’t match up with the Gold Butte area, but according to the BLM, its plans “consist of restoration and preservation measures prescribed for the Gold Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), but for which sufficient resources have been unavailable. The Gold Butte ACEC is in the same ecological zone (ecoregion) and subzone as the Dry Lake SEZ and is of the same vegetation community. The Gold Butte ACEC provides habitat for all of the wildlife, including the special status species, found in the Dry Lake SEZ.”
Translation: The BLM expects a bunch of alternative-energy businesses to move into the Dry Lake SEZ and tear up tortoise habitat, but that’s OK, because those companies will pay to beef up the tortoise country club planned at Gold Butte, if only that Bundy character would get out of the way. And, oh yeah, there’s a lot of money the BLM plans to soak from the businesses it’s going to let chew up “public” lands.
Well, it turns out that the ENN deal the Reids were working on fell through. However, never count out a schemer like Dingy Harry or his friends.
The BLM’s mitigation plan wasn’t just designed for one company. BLM records show plans for at least 50 renewable energy projects in Nevada, Arizona and California.
In March, Reid joined in the groundbreaking for the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, just southwest of Gold Butte. That project, to be built partly on an Indian reservation and partly on BLM-managed lands, involves K Road Power, a New York energy company, as the major leaseholder. K Road’s business development manager is Jonathan Magaziner, former associate at the Clinton Climate Initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation and son of President Clinton’s senior policy adviser Ira Magaziner.
A BLM map of planned renewable energy projects also shows a company called First Solar among 11 projects sited in Clark County. The list of investors for First Solar includes Goldman Sachs, Ted Turner, Paul Tudor Jones and Al Gore. Here’s my personal favorite part, though: First Solar’s CEO is Michael Ahearn. Ahearn is a fundraiser for President Obama and … ta da! … Harry Reid.
Small world, ain’t it?
These projects are all part of a much larger plan by the Democratic Party to turn the West into essentially a giant battery. The President’s New Energy for America Plan calls for 10 percent of U.S. electricity to be generated by renewable sources by two years ago, a goal that has been slightly surpassed at this point. However, it also calls for a whopping 25 percent by 2025.
My guess is they’re running a little behind schedule.
According to the BLM, a 2009 memo from the secretary of the interior demanded that the Department of the Interior make renewable energy development a top priority. The Moapa solar project is on the fast-track list, according to a BLM report.
So the reason why Cliven Bundy’s cattle were the target of an armed invasion really had only peripherally to do with grazing fees and even less to do with a tortoise. The truth at this point seems to be that he stands in the way of a massive plot — dare we say conspiracy? — to make a whole lot of business and political figures on the Left a whole lot richer.
The BLM went up to Clark County to clear the way for the people who think they own this country. It’s just too bad for Dingy Harry and friends that the federal agents found out that there are still Americans who, right or wrong, won’t be pushed around so easily.