PLC, NCBA Call on Supreme Court to Settle Decades-Long Case

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association along with the Public Lands Council is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Hage versus United States - a decades-long property rights case - to determine whether the U.S. forest Service violated the Takings Clause of the Constitution when it interfered with Nevada ranchers and their stock water rights.

The U.S. Forest Service denied the Hage family access to ditches supplying their stock and several meadows with water. The family was forced to file for a permit to maintain and use the water. A federal claims court decided the family was owed compensation by the agency - but the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision in part.

The organizations filed an amicus curiae brief through the Western Resources Legal Center. PLC President Brice Lee says the case's precedent-setting nature and importance to livestock producers' property rights merits the high court's consideration.

Lee says they deserve compensation for what the Forest Service took from them. NCBA President Scott George says if the agency is allowed to demand this permit - county road rights-of-way established under the Mining Act would also be in jeopardy - further threatening ranchers' ability to stay in business. NCBA and PLC strongly encourage the Supreme Court to take up this case.

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