Relations Between Local Law and BLM Strained

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Garfield County, in Nevada, is an area roughly equal in size to the state of Connecticut and is entirely rural with a population on around only 5,500. Ninety percent of the county is managed under the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). There have always been some tensions in the space between the BLM and local law officials, but recently these tensions have increased to what some say may be the limit.

Sheriff Perkins of Garfield says relations are deteriorating and attributes it to elitist attitudes in the BLM, which prompted his county and two in Utah recently enacted resolutions to ban or restrict federal officers in their borders. Perkins says the BLM often fails to recognize local authority.

The last decade has seen an increased militarization of the BLM, its officers and their training and this has caused public protests and even had a hand in prompting the House to hold a subcommittee hearing to probe the subject of the BLM and citizen concerns.

Spokespeople for the BLM insist that the agency does not possess cultural elitism and that it is merely doing as the public and the courts direct them.