Federal land managers abruptly ended the roundup of cattle on public land in southern Nevada owned by a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority, citing a serious concern for the safety of employees and the public.
Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze made the announcement Saturday morning.
The fight has widened into a debate about states rights and federal land-use policy. The agency revoked Cliven Bundy s grazing rights after he stopped paying grazing fees and disregarded court orders to remove his animals.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the BLM will also release 100 of the seized cattle. The BLM did not immediately return calls to The Associated Press.
Also on Saturday, armed militia members and others gathered near the roundup site to protest the removal of hundreds of Bundy s cattle. Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada issued a statement asking the crowd to leave.