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October 30, 2014

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Amodei says BLM got butt kicked in Bundy cattle fight

Mark Amodei

Mark Amodei

RENO — Rep. Mark Amodei has chided two fellow members of Nevada's congressional delegation for their descriptions of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's supporters.

The Republican lawmaker took issue with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's branding of them as "domestic terrorists" and Republican Sen. Dean Heller's labeling of them as "patriots."

Bundy and his armed supporters thwarted an attempt by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management two weeks ago to seize his family's cattle over his failure to pay $1.1 million in fees and penalties for use of government land over the past 20 years.

"First of all, I don't think labels help this thing at all," Amodei said during a taping of the "Nevada Newsmakers" television program on Thursday. "I sure as heck don't think they are domestic terrorists, with all due respect to the majority leader.

"Dean may like the word 'patriots.' But the labels don't get you where you need to get, which is: What is the culture of your (BLM) law enforcement operations in Nevada and elsewhere in the West, since you own so much of it?"

Amodei praised new BLM chief Neil Kornze, saying his decision to abruptly halt the removal of Bundy's cattle from the range prevented a standoff from escalating into violence. The agency also released some 400 of Bundy's cows that were removed during the weeklong operation.

"That is a leadership-type thing where you say, 'We are getting our butts kicked and we are taking our team off the field and getting out of the stadium,'" Amodei said, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. "It's not a win, but probably the right thing to do under the circumstances."

Kornze, an Elko County native, is a former senior policy adviser to Reid.

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