The judge now presiding over the Cliven Bundy trial also decided another, similar Nevada case without the need of guns or standoffs.
U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro last month ordered the Hage family to pay $587,294 for “repeated willful unauthorized grazing.”
The unpermitted grazing began under the late E. Wayne Hage, owner of the Pine Creek Ranch in Monitor Valley, which he purchased in 1978, moving there from California. Over time, Hage became attracted to movements like the Sagebrush Rebellion and its successors like the county supremacy movement. After several disputes with the family, in the early 1990s federal officials cancelled some of Hage’s grazing permits but he continued grazing his cattle on the public’s land, even increasing the size of the herd. He wrote a book, Storm over Rangelands: Private Rights in Federal Lands. Hage also married former U.S. House member Helen Chenoweth of Idaho, noted for her claims that “black helicopters” were used by federal Interior officials in enforcement of the law in her state.
In 1991, the Hages filed suit, claiming the federal government had “taken” Hage property, including water and forage as well as “improvements” made by the family to the property at issue.
Following Hage’s June 5, 2006 death, the younger Wayne N. Hage continued his father’s practices. By 2011, more than 600 cattle were being illegally grazed. In 2012, the Hages were charged with unpermitted grazing. In both legal actions, the Hages won split decisions, but their winning portions were overturned by higher courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their lawsuit.
Judge Navarro also ordered the Hages to stop unpermitted grazing unless they follow legal procedures. Navarro was at least the third judge to sit on the long-running case.