of course I replied based on the topic before reading your link.
There are much better, less crap filled, pieces written on the topic.
Here is a short description written by a guy I know from a different perspective. I think he has some good points/insight into the other side:
This is a very complicated issue. It is touching a raw nerve that exists in the Wesy over the federal ownership df lands in the west and the way the Feds are managing those lands - managing by abusing the environmental laws, particularly the endangered species act, and thereby destroying the economies of the west. The federal government is also ignoring and discarding the century + old compact it had with the ranchers in the west.
While it is technically correct that the federal government is the landowner, this guy is a mere leaseholder, and the government has the legal right to change the terms of the lease and evict him if he doesn't comply.
However, as usual, there is much more to the story than that. Most ranches in the west are comprised of relatively small amounts of land held in fee simple and the remaining majority of land leased from the federal and sometimes state governments. Those leased lands are tied to the fee simple. That is, the lands are not leased at an open auction, but the owner of the fee simple has an exclusive right to lease them, and that right to lease transfers with the fee simple land.
The lease land is a key component to the value of the ranch. When the ranch sells, it is valued not only on the value of the fee simple land, but also on the leased land that accompanies it. In fact, when the federal government condemns such ranches (such as it did at White Sands Missile Range), it has been forced by the federal courts to pay the ranchers for the value of not only their fee simple land, but also their leased land, since that total value truly reflects the value of the ranch being taken by the federal government.
Keep in mind also that the federal government made a compact with this guy's ancestors, and the ancestors of all of the western ranches. That compact was that if those ancestors were to go out and pioneer that god-forsaken land in the middle of nowhere, the federal government would not only grant you homestead rights on your fee simple land, but would also grant you the preferential grazing leases described above.
That system started changing in the 70s with the advent of the environmental movement and their hatred of ranching in the west. The BLM and the Forest Service (the two largest "owners" of federal grazing lands, which were originally created to help the ranchers, evolved to become their worst enemy. All across the west they started dramatically reducing the ranchers grazing allotments (i.e., the number of cow/calf units the ranchers were allowed to place on the federal lands). By drastic, I mean reductions of 90-99%. Many if not most ranchers in the west were wiped out. As an example, the county in Nevada where this is occuring had over 50 ranchers 20 years ago. This guy is the only rancher left.
Further, as someone pointed out above, much of this policy has been created through incestuous litigation. That is, environmental groups, staffed by former BLM and Forest Service employees, file suit agains those agencies. Prior to any court hearing, the agency "settles" with the environmental group and further agrees to pay the environmental groups legal fees. (By the way, no one knows how much the federal government is paying in legal fees to these environmental groups, but the best estimates is billions of dollars a year. For many of the groups, it is their only source of revenue.) Due to this sue and settle approach, the federal agencies are able to implement policies that are not permitted by statute. Furthermore, the policies are not subject to the normal regulatory process of issuing proposed regulations, having public comments, etc. Thus, the federal agencies have been able to implement massive social changes in the western US without any meaningful debate or any real due process.
Consequentially, most non-tourist locations in the west are sinkholes of poverty. No jobs exist and young people are being forced to move elsewhere to find employment. Virtually the entire cattle, timber and mining industries in the west have been shut down by this extra-legal process.
Most people in the Rocky Mountain west, outside the liberal tourist meccas, are deeply outraged at this situation. This standoff in Nevada has touched a raw nerve.
The BLM is very heavy handed in this issue. Even if this guy is violating a lease, does that justify sending in 200 armed agents and snipers, and unilaterally restricting everyones' 1st Amendment rights?
In summary, this isn't simply a question of landlord and tenant rights. Rather, it is a question of public policy, government oversight, government ownership of the vast majority of western lands, and who should best control and oversee those lands.