Karen Budd-Falen on the Bundy family’s violent takeover of public lands: “you’re going to see more of that because we’re not left with any choice.”
Another former Trump transition team member with extreme political views has been floated for a high-level position at the Department of Interior. E&E News reported that Karen Budd-Falen, a Wyoming private property rights attorney, is in line to head up the Bureau of Land Management under Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.
Ms. Budd-Falen has identified with the goals of armed militia leader and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who refused to pay grazing fees and treated public lands as his private rangeland.
After Bundy’s armed standoff, Ms. Budd-Falen remarked that she “totally” understood why Cliven Bundy engaged in an armed standoff at his ranch, saying, “you’re going to see more of that because we’re not left with any choice.”
She also supported Utah Rep. Ken Ivory’s failed land grab bill, stating that it “could stand a chance constitutionally.” Her opinion is in direct contradiction to a report supported by 11 Western Attorneys General that found that the “U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the Property Clause of the Constitution gives the U.S. government the right to own public lands….”
“Karen Budd-Falen is too extreme to be trusted with our national heritage. With her long record and known history of opposing public lands it’s hard to believe she could end up managing some 245 million acres of public lands,” said Chris Saeger, Western Values Project Executive Director. “When you side with armed militia groups and support anti-public land zealots, you are not qualified nor should you be confirmed to take on such an important responsibility.”
Ms. Budd-Falen previously worked at the Department of the Interior during a time when the department proposed selling off public land. More recently, she openly criticized BLM planning and has been one of the top cheerleaders of the Trump administration’s monuments review.
As an attorney in private practice, she has a long history of challenging public lands and access rights; she has even sued what may become her future employer and their employees over the handling of a public road easement that the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against.