GOP officials criticize BLM at House hearing

GOP officials criticize BLM at House hearing

CREATED Jul 25, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Local and federal Republican elected officials criticized the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's handling of the armed April standoff with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, blaming tensions on heavy-handed actions by the agency's law enforcement officials.

The GOP officials, at a House subcommittee hearing Thursday in Washington, said local authorities should have handled the situation instead and federal land managers should not be allowed to carry guns.

The bureau wasn't invited to testify at the hearing conducted by the Natural Resources subcommittee.

Bundy and his states' rights supporters thwarted the bureau's attempt to remove his cattle from public land.

The bureau says Bundy owes over $1 million in fees and penalties for trespassing on federal property without a permit over 20 years. Bundy refuses to acknowledge federal authority on public lands.