BUNKERVILLE, Nev. — Less than a week after being acquitted for his role in last winter’s armed occupation of an Oregon federal wildlife refuge, Nevada rancher Ryan Bundy said another protest action will be justified if President Barack Obama goes ahead with plans to create a huge national monument abutting the Bundy family’s ranch here.

“Absolutely! That’s the best thing in the world for people to do,” Bundy said Monday in a telephone interview from an Oregon jail, where he is being held pending a February trial related to a separate armed standoff in 2014 with federal agents at his family’s ranch.

“Read the Declaration of Independence,” he said. “It says right there that if the government becomes abusive, it’s our right and our duty to abolish that government. If the government won’t restrain itself, whatever happens is their own fault.”

The suggestion of a potential uprising underscores the extent to which two competing political movements – defiance of federal authority, and Obama’s determination to permanently protect vast federal lands – could collide next in this arid patch of land 110 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Federal officials were alarmed by the jury’s decision to acquit Bundy, his brother Ammon and five others who staged a 41-day occupation early this year at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in remote eastern Oregon.

While supporters of the Bundys hailed the surprise verdict as a victory against what they see as federal overreach, federal officials said it could embolden anyone with a grievance to take over government property and endanger federal workers.

Ryan Bundy is angry that Obama, before he leaves office, may use his executive power under the 1906 Antiquities Act to impose new restrictions on Gold Butte, a 350,000-acre parcel of pristine desert wilderness just south of the Bundy family’s ranch.

Obama administration officials said federal officials were rattled by the Oregon verdict, but individuals briefed on the process say the White House is pushing ahead with plans to create a monument that would permanently preserve a federally owned tract filled with soaring peaks, exotic red sandstone formations, an imperiled desert tortoise population and thousands of ancient Native American rock etchings called petroglyphs.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who has worked to protect the area for years, has described a monument designation as one of his final goals before retiring this year. Bundy, 44, wouldn’t say whether he and his family would encourage some kind of anti-government action over Gold Butte, because “I never say what we will do.” But asked whether violence was ever justified against an abusive government, Bundy said: “Ask George Washington.”

Repeating an argument common in the West but disputed by most mainstream constitutional scholars, Bundy said the Constitution does not grant the federal government power to own large tracts of land, nor does the president have legal authority to create national monuments. Bundy said that creating the Gold Butte monument would be an abuse of presidential power and a valuation of tourism and endangered species over the economic needs of struggling communities.

“The government should be scared. They are in the wrong. The land does not belong to the government. The land belongs to the people of Clark County, not to the people of the United States,” said Bundy, who spoke over the phone as his wife, Angie, sat nearby beneath a shady mesquite tree at the family’s 160-acre ranch on the parched banks of the Virgin River.

For many generations, ranchers in Bunkerville have paid a fee to graze their cattle on the Gold Butte land, but nearly all of them allowed the Nature Conservancy and other groups to buy out their permits years ago. The Bundy family, which has fewer than 600 head of cattle, is the last full-time ranching family in the area. Their animals still graze for free, as they have for years, in defiance of federal courts twice ordering the Bundys to desist. The family has refused to pay more than $1 million in fees and fines.

When officials from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service tried to finally remove the cattle in 2014, they were met by the Bundy family and hundreds of armed supporters.

Fearing bloodshed, authorities eventually retreated. Earlier this year, family patriarch Cliven Bundy, along with sons Ammon and Ryan, and 16 others, were charged with an array of federal firearms, conspiracy and assault counts in the 2014 incident.