Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, February 3, 2017

Contact: Kierán Sucking, (520) 275-5960,

Bundy Standoff Trial to Begin Monday in Nevada

LAS VEGAS— Experts are available to discuss the jury trial of Cliven Bundy, his sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy and 14 other defendants for their infamous paramilitary standoff with federal authorities in Nevada. The Bundy trial begins Monday, Feb. 6 in federal court in Las Vegas.

What: Interview with experts to discuss background and origins of public-lands seizure movement and the 2014 Nevada standoff in advance of the Feb. 6 start to the Bundy trial.

Who:  Kierán Suckling, executive director, Center for Biological Diversity
Ryan Beam, public lands campaigner, Center for Biological Diversity

Where: Outside the courthouse, U.S. District Court, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89101, before Chief Judge Gloria M. Navarro

When: Monday, Feb. 6, at 8:30 a.m.

In 2014 the Bureau of Land Management attempted to end 24 years of illegal cattle grazing on public lands by rancher Cliven Bundy in the Gold Butte region of Nevada. Heavily armed militia members from across the United States converged on the Bundy ranch to confront federal officials conducting the roundup. Officials then aborted their law-enforcement action. Click here for a history of Bundy's illegal grazing and armed conflict in Nevada.

The Nevada standoff fanned the flames for the paramilitary seizure of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, where sons of Cliven Bundy and other anti-federal militants occupied the wildlife refuge at gunpoint for 41 days. To the nation's shock, a jury acquitted the defendants in October 2016. This week's trial is for charges in connection with the April 2014 Nevada standoff.

The Bundys and their followers believe that the federal government lacks constitutional authority to own or manage federal public land — an idea that conflicts with two centuries of federal case law. Cliven Bundy, in the context of federal litigation relating to his 24-year refusal to pay federal grazing fees, has made and lost that argument in federal court. He has been quoted as saying, “I don't recognize the United States government as even existing."

Some federal elected officials are working to seize federal public lands or their control. Funded by the Koch brothers and other industry interests, these elected officials have advanced legislation to sell, give away, or otherwise privatize public lands. Click here to read more about the anti-public lands movement in Congress. But public awareness of these privatization efforts is growing. One week after Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced a bill (H.R. 621) to sell 3.3 million acres of public lands, massive public outcry forced him to withdraw the bill.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

More press releases