Sen. Heller: Bundy Should Pay BLM $1 Million In Grazing Fees He Owes

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Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks during a news conference near his ranch on April 24, 2014 in Bunkerville, Nev. (credit: David Becker/Getty Images)

Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks during a news conference near his ranch on April 24, 2014 in Bunkerville, Nev. (credit: David Becker/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada says Cliven Bundy should pay the Bureau of Land management more than $1 million in grazing fees the agency says he owes.

Heller made no additional comment on the subject at a news conference in Washington.

A Nevada rancher, Bundy says he doesn’t recognize federal authority over lands around his property where his cattle have long grazed.

The BLM claims the cattle are trespassing on fragile Gold Butte habitat set aside for the endangered desert tortoise, and that Bundy owes $1.1 million in fees and penalties since 1993.

A recent armed standoff during a BLM roundup of the family’s cattle earlier this month became so tense that the agency stopped its efforts, released about 350 animals back to Bundy and left the area.

Last month, Heller called the militia members helping to defend Bundy’s property “patriots.”

“I take more issues with the BLM coming in with a paramilitary army of individuals with snipers. I’m talking to people and groups that are there at the event. Your own government with sniper lenses on you. It made a lot of people very uncomfortable,” Heller told KSNV-TV.

The junior Nevada senator also stated at the time that he wanted congressional hearings held about BLM trying to round-up Bundy’s cattle.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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