PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Court voted today to approve a contract to review the County's new Natural Resources Plan with a Wyoming law firm.
An opposition group was expected to attend this morning's meeting, not to oppose the plan itself, but the lawyer tapped to review the plan, because of her ties to Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy.
Karen Budd-Falen is an expert on federal land use statutes, and she admits she represented Bundy as part of a group - not personally. "25 or 26 years ago, the BLM issued a full force and effect decision telling all these ranchers they had to remove their cattle because the desert tortoise got listed as a threatened or endangered species, and that was when he was paying his grazing fees and he believed that the federal government had jurisdiction over the property."
Budd-Falen says it is her expertise in Federal Law that is behind Crook County's contract with her, and she also believes other counties across the state will draft similar Natural Resource Plans and contact her for her help.
She says it's incorrect to call her 'the Bundy family attorney' as she has been portrayed, as she has only had minor contact with them. "I represented him 26 years ago, he had one of the grazing allotments in Nevada, and so he was one of that group of ranchers that I represented and we went to court to keep the BLM from kicking the cattle off of the property. And then Cliven decided that he believed the County had jurisdiction over the land and all that other stuff and then I quit representing him."
Crook County Judge Seth Crawford declined our invitation to comment on the controversy.