DENVER — Behind the hoopla surrounding Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the Bureau of Land Management is a growing resentment over the federal government’s status as the largest landowner in the West.
“This is so much bigger than one rancher in Nevada,” Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory, who heads the American Lands Council, said in an April 23 online debate sponsored by The Salt Lake Tribune.
How much land does the federal government own? A 2012 Congressional Research Survey said the federal government owns about 640 million acres, or 28 percent of the nation’s land mass. Roughly 90 percent of that property is in the West.