U.S. judge declares mistrial against Bundy, new trial next year

Federal prosecutors “willfully” failed to share evidence with lawyers defending Cliven Bundy and two sons, who are on trial for an April 2014 armed standoff, ruled U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Mars’ Montana ranch sold for $64.8 million

A ranch covering 93,280 acres in southeastern Montana, assembled by Forrest Mars, former co-president of the giant Mars candy company, sold for $64.8 million to Heal Holdings, of Florida, said Drovers.

Cliven Bundy says ‘no thanks’ to jail release during federal trial

A federal judge in Las Vegas said Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who led a standoff with the government over cattle grazing, can be released on bond from jail during his trial on weapons and conspiracy charges.

Potential BLM chief has fought the agency for years

Karen Budd-Fallen, a Wyoming-based lawyer with a history of representing ranchers against the Bureau of Land Management, has announced that she’s in the running to be the BLM’s next director. With a long career of protecting private-property rights, Budd-Fallen, “has challenged grazing regulations and endangered species protections, and in a landmark case attempted to sue individual BLM employees under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.

Ecology program has prisoners planting sagebrush

Under a program funded by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), prisoners in six states are planting sagebrush, a plant native to Western grasslands that has been depleted by development and by ranchers' preference for other grasses that make better forage for livestock. Sagebrush provides valuable habitat for big-game and birds, while providing enough shade to keep moisture in the soil.

Montana ranchers worry new radioactive waste rule isn’t enough

Since 2013, nearly 233,000 tons of radioactive waste, much of it from the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota, has been disposed of at a site near Glendive, Montana. Now, after years of prodding, the state has finally proposed a rule for handling oilfield waste, but area ranchers and farmers think the plan leaves them deeply vulnerable.

Zinke won’t dismantle any national monuments, though some might get smaller

After a controversial four-month review of 27 U.S. national monuments, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke won’t recommend that the White House do away with any of them. He did say, however, that “a handful of sites” could see their boundaries changed or shrunken, says the Associated Press.

Cliven Bundy supporters found not guilty

A federal jury in Las Vegas delivered not guilty verdicts today to four gunmen involved in the 2014 standoff led by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. “U.S. prosecutors said the four defendants had committed crimes including conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, extortion, and weapons law violations,” said Reuters.

Greens worry over new sage grouse conservation plan

A new sage grouse conservation plan released by the Interior Department has ranchers and energy developers in the West cheering, while environmentalists worry about the endangered bird’s future.