Maybe I am sympathetic toward this...
The only reason I can see why a person who is not a member of the Bundy family would be sympathetic is because of having an unquestioned prejudice against the government.
I mean, if somebody can get an easement against new construction because it will block their view, then this guy deserves to use the land that he has been using since 1877.
It has already been posted on this thread, either directly or through links, that this is not true in the way it is being used. One would think from this that the 600,000 acres has been consistently in use by the Bundy family since that time, and is part of their
ranch. In fact, some of Bundy's ancestors grazed cows on parts of the same landscape intermittently starting in the 1870's, but the current Bundy "ranch" didn't come into existence until 1954. Out West here, such a ranch is typically a private property "base ranch", which only needs to be 20 acres (I think) and the rest is a federal land lease, which is much like a lease of anything. It gets periodically renewed and the rules change depending upon the condition of the range or changes in the law. The leases are offered on the open market to all bidders who qualify (own a "base ranch) whenever they reach a renewal point. Every time it was used, a lease was involved. "Ancestral rights" to the land are not a part of the deal.
Also, since the Fed has eliminated private or state ownership of almost 90% of the land in NV, ...
Where did you get this tidbit of misinformation? The land was originally owned by the federal government (ceded by Mexico in 1848), any that's not was sold or given to the non-federal owners, accompanied by legal title. I'm sure sometimes the fed condemns and "takes back" some land in very particular cases, but this land has never left federal ownership. The reason 90% is still in federal ownership is because nobody thought it was worth homesteading. They did homestead the better parts along streams and such (the 10%).
... it would seem a pretty good idea to allow land use that actually contributes to the economy.
Federal land grazing in the arid West is not a positive economic benefit to anyone but the leaseholder. The cost of administering the leases, and other land management costs, greatly exceed the pittance that the ranchers are charged. "Doing nothing" with the land in question would be a greater benefit to the economy. They don't call these guys welfare ranchers for nothing! There is another set of benefits that come from ecosystem services
, that arise from having the landscape in good ecological condition. Cows are not good for such desert ecosystems and they degrade the ecosystem services value.
Fed comes in and instead of arresting the farmer, they blockade the farmer from his cattle?
Scoutgal explained this one. Bundy owes the federal government money. They got a judgment against him, just like you would if somebody didn't pay you, and they are going to get as much of the value from selling his cows as possible. If there is money left over, Bundy will get it. Removing the cows from the federal land is a separate issue, from which costs also accrue, that can be reimbursed from the sale of the cattle. Bundy could have removed the cows himself and paid the back-rent, but he didn't. He's a standard deadbeat, that's all.