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August 27, 2014

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The new BLM throwdown: Utah county sheriffs cry ‘retribution’

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Trent Nelson / AP

Ryan Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, rides an ATV into Recapture Canyon north of Blanding, Utah, on Saturday, May 10, 2014, in a protest against what demonstrators call the federal government’s overreaching control of public lands. The area has been closed to motorized use since 2007 when an illegal trail was found that cuts through Ancestral Puebloan ruins. The canyon is open to hikers and horseback riders.

Utah is one of the major hotbeds for disputes between the Bureau of Land Management and those who consider the federal agency in a permanent state of overreach.

Now the feud is spreading to another arena: contracts in which the agency pays local sheriffs for law enforcement on federal land. Alongside all the BLM-related controversy in the West, the BLM has allowed its contracts with five Utah county sheriff offices to expire over the past year or so.

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