Leader says armed group in Ore. will leave after federal land is turned over to locals

BURNS, Ore. -- A leader of the small armed group that has been occupying a remote national wildlife refuge in Oregon said Tuesday that they will go home when a plan to turn over management of federal lands to locals is implemented.

See Full Article

Ammon Bundy -- one of the sons of rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 Nevada standoff with the government over grazing rights -- told reporters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that ranchers, loggers and farmers should have control of federal lands.

Bundy offered few specifics of the group's plan, but LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, said the group would examine the underlying land ownership transactions to begin to "unwind it."

Finicum said he was eager to leave Oregon.

"I need to get home," he said. "I've got cows that are scattered and lost."

As of Tuesday morning, authorities had not shut off power to the refuge, Finicum said.

"If they cut it off, that would be such a crying shame, all the pipes would freeze."

As the occupation entered its third day, Ammon Bundy said the group felt it had the support of the local community.

However, the county sheriff has told the roughly 20 people to go home and a community meeting was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

While the anti-government group is critical of federal stewardship of lands, environmentalists and others say officials should run the lands for the broadest possible benefit of business, recreation and the environment.

So far, law enforcement has not taken action against the group of about two dozen activists opposing the imprisonment of father-and-son ranchers who set fire to federal land.

"These guys are out in the middle of nowhere, and they haven't threatened anybody that I know of," said Jim Glennon, a longtime police commander who now owns the Illinois-based law enforcement training organization Calibre Press. "There's no hurry."

Some observers have complained, suggesting the government's response would have been swifter and more severe had the occupants been Muslim or other minorities.

The activists seized the refuge about 300 miles from Portland on Saturday night as part of a decades-long fight over public lands in the West.

They said they want an inquiry into whether the government is forcing ranchers off their land after Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, reported back to prison Monday.

The Hammonds were convicted of arson three years ago for fires on federal land in 2001 and 2006, one of which was set to cover up deer poaching, according to prosecutors. The men served no more than a year until an appeals court judge ruled the terms fell short of minimum sentences that require them to serve about four more years.

Their sentences were a rallying cry for the group calling itself Citizens for constitutional Freedom, whose mostly male members said they want federal lands turned over to local authorities so people can use them free of U.S. oversight.

The Hammonds have distanced themselves from the protest group. Many locals don't want the activists here, fearing they may bring trouble.

Seeds of the dispute date back decades in the West, where the federal government owns about half of all land.

In the 1970s, Nevada and other states pushed for local control in what was known as the Sagebrush Rebellion. Supporters wanted more land for cattle grazing, mining and timber harvesting.

------

Johnson reported from Seattle. Associated Press Writer Brian Melley contributed from Los Angeles.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Israel marks Holocaust remembrance day with sombre ceremony

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM - Israel is marking its annual Holocaust remembrance day in memory of the 6 million Jews systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. It is one of the most melancholy days on Israel's calendar. Source
  • Author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann shot in Kenya

    World News CTV News
    NAIROBI, Kenya -- The Italian-born author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann was shot at her Kenyan ranch and airlifted for treatment after herders invaded in search of pasture to save their animals from drought, officials said Sunday. Source
  • 'Party girl' stereotype played role in cabbie sex-assault case: professor

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The stereotype of the "promiscuous party girl" may have factored into the acquittal of a Halifax cab driver accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his car, a review of the case suggests. Source
  • What's next for the Montreal Canadiens?

    Canada News CBC News
    The Montreal Canadiens face a long summer filled with plenty of questions after last night's disappointing first-round exit. "It's a bitter disappointment," Carey Price said after losing 3-1 in Game 6. "We couldn't catch a break all series. Source
  • Some sex assault complainants turning to human rights tribunal to seek change

    Canada News CTV News
    The challenges of criminally prosecuting sexual assault cases have some complainants turning to human rights tribunals in an effort to bring about systemic change and seek restitution. The latest case involves a complaint by a woman against the University of Toronto that was filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario earlier this month. Source
  • Medical student accused of murder 'fully participating' in defence: lawyer

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The murder trial of a former Halifax medical student resumes Monday, with his lawyer calling him a "model client" who has been unusually involved in his defence. William Sandeson, 24, received special permission to use a computer while on remand at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Halifax so he could review case material, said defence lawyer Eugene Tan. Source
  • 'Thoroughly disappointed': Leafs fan out $800 in apparent playoff ticket scam

    Canada News CTV News
    Playoff tickets across the country have been in high demand, but if you’re looking for a bargain, better beware of possible scammers looking to take advantage. Mike Michea doled hundreds of dollars to attend Game 6 of the Toronto Maple Leafs-Washington Capitals first-round playoff series, behind held at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday. Source
  • U.K. reality TV star's ex-boyfriend arrested in nightclub acid attack

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — British police say they have arrested the ex-boyfriend of a reality TV performer sought in connection to an acid attack at an east London nightclub. Police said Sunday that Arthur Collins had been arrested late Saturday night on suspicion of attempted murder. Source
  • Sessions on Hawaii remark: 'Nobody has a sense of humour'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Attorney General Jeff Sessions says "nobody has a sense of humour anymore." That's his assessment after drawing ire for seeming to dismiss the state of Hawaii as merely "an island in the Pacific. Source
  • Former Calgary man Farah Mohamed Shirdon 1 of 2 Canadians added to U.S. terrorist list

    Canada News CBC News
    The U.S. Department of State has added two Canadians to its most-wanted global terrorist list. Farah Mohamed Shirdon and Tarek Sakr were named as "Specially Designated Global Terrorists," according to a release from the State Department. Source