The family that owns 400 acres of Nevada land just three miles from the famed Area 51—and has owned said land for over 100 years, long before the secretive military facility moved in—is fighting an “eminent domain” takeover by the US government, according to CNN.
The official word:
The Air Force wants the land because, after decades of escorting family members into the highly restricted space, it can no longer ensure the family’s safety during the “near-24/7 operation” at the base, officially known as “The Nevada Test and Training Range.”
The Sheahan family has been offered $5.2 million for the land by the Air Force, which includes the Groom Mine and is where the current generation of Sheahans’ patriarch is buried. The family believes the property is worth at least $29 million.
The case is now being decided by federal court, the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes:
The Air Force says numerous failed attempts to purchase the property within the boundaries of the Nevada Test and Training Range have forced its hand.
“After exhausting all reasonable efforts to negotiate a sale and the landowner’s rejection of the Air Force’s offers, the Air Force requested the Department of Justice file a condemnation action in Federal District Court,” Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations Jennifer Miller wrote in a statement after the offer’s expiration.
The Sheahans began and ended their response by writing, “We are heartbroken.”
“We are patriotic Americans who have served our country in combat, and we still believe in America. Nevertheless, our story is one that is rife with criminality and immorality perpetrated on us by our own government.”
As the CNN article notes, this isn’t the first time the Sheahans have gone toe-to-toe with the Air Force. In the 1950s, they launched an unsuccessful bit to sue the Air Force after a mine processing mill was destroyed by what they believed to be “an aircraft engine that fell from the sky.”
Photo of land surrounding Area 51 by Doc Searls