Oregon militia leader speaking with FBI about wildlife refuge standoff

BURNS, Ore. - The leader of an armed group that is occupying a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon has spoken with the FBI and there are plans to communicate again on Friday as the standoff over federal land policies nears the three-week mark.

See Full Article

Standing outside the municipal airport in Burns, Oregon, Ammon Bundy spoke by phone Thursday to an unnamed FBI negotiator. The federal agency has used the airport, about 30 miles from the refuge, as a staging ground during the occupation.

The conversation happened a day after Oregon's governor sharply criticized federal authorities for not doing more to remove Bundy's group from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the state's high-desert.

The FBI did not specifically comment on the Thursday conversation, though it was streamed live online by someone from his group.

Bundy said he went to the airport to meet with FBI officials face to face, but they declined to meet him. Bundy said the FBI had called him 14 times in a row earlier this week, but he couldn't pick up the phone because he was in a meeting.

"We're not going to escalate nothing, we're there to work," Bundy told the FBI official, with reporters and supporters watching. "You guys as the FBI... you would be the ones to escalate. I'm here to shake your hands... myself and those with me are not a threat."

He also told the FBI the agency doesn't have "the people's authority" to station at the airport. Earlier this month, officials said the FBI has jurisdiction over the armed takeover of the federal buildings in the refuge, as well as any crimes committed there.

"This occupation has caused tremendous disruption and hardship for the people of Harney County, and our response has been deliberate and measured as we seek a peaceful resolution," the FBI said Thursday in a statement.

On Wednesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she was angry because federal authorities have not taken action against Bundy's group, which began occupying the refuge Jan 2. The Democratic governor said the occupation has cost Oregon taxpayers nearly half a million dollars.

"We'll be asking federal officials to reimburse the state for these costs," Brown said.

Bundy did not address concerns about how much the occupation is costing authorities. He did rail against federal land management policies and reiterated that his armed group would not leave the refuge until federal lands - including the refuge - are turned over to local control.

"We will leave there if those buildings are turned over to the proper authorities... and never used again by the federal government to control land and resources unconstitutionally in this county," Bundy said.

Bundy said that despite some negative sentiments against his group expressed at recent community meetings, he believes his group's work is appreciated by locals. He said the armed men have been "helping ranchers," doing maintenance on the refuge because "it's in a bad shape," and taking care of fire hazards in the refuge's fire house.

Bundy also asked the FBI to let two ranchers sent to prison for arson go back home. Bundy agreed to speak with authorities again on Friday. He said he would again come to the airport and hoped to speak with someone from the FBI face-to-face.

Earlier Bundy also said his group plans to have a ceremony Saturday for ranchers to renounce federal ownership of public land and tear up their federal grazing contracts. The armed group plans to open up the 300-square-mile refuge for cattle this spring.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • How Yukoners reacted when most of their territory went without power

    Canada News CBC News
    Most of Yukon went without power for a few hours Saturday after a hydro unit in Whitehorse went offline. For nearly three hours, power was out in communities across the territory, with temperatures dropping to nearly -30 C in some of the affected areas. Source
  • Conservative leadership hopefuls draw crowd of 600 to Langley, B.C., debate

    Canada News CBC News
    Opposition to safe injection sites, ideas for a two-tiered health care system and Islamophobia, along with jobs and the economy, were alll topics touched on by 12 of 14 of the federal Conservative leadership candidates in the first of two back-to-back B.C. Source
  • You're fired! Trump administration official axed after criticizing The Donald [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — A senior Trump administration official was fired following criticism in a private speech of President Donald Trump’s policies and his inner circle of advisers. Craig Deare, whom Trump appointed a month ago to head the National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere division, was on Friday escorted out of the Executive Office Building, where he worked in Washington. Source
  • Trash, mud from construction enrages new Edmonton neighbourhood

    Canada News CTV News
    Home construction is a dirty business. Heavy equipment tracks mud all over the place, builders pile excess material in unsightly heaps before carting it away in dumpsters, and even the most mindful journeyman can lose a coffee cup or fast food wrapper in the wind. Source
  • 'Harsh conditions' help force shutdown of Sable Island wind project

    Canada News CBC News
    The harsh conditions and extreme isolation of Sable Island has forced Ottawa to abandon a wind project on the iconic crescent-shaped sandbar — more than 15 years after it launched the initiative. Parks Canada said wind turbines don't meet the needs of the wind-swept Nova Scotia island, famous for the wild horses that have roamed there since the 18th century. Source
  • More record-breaking warmth ahead for Ontario before new freeze

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Environment Canada says more spring-like weather that smashed temperature records in Ontario is in store for the rest of the weekend. Trudy Kidd, a meteorologist with the weather agency, says Toronto saw a new record high for Feb. Source
  • France warns Russia not to meddle in election

    World News CTV News
    PARIS - France's foreign minister is denouncing possible Russian meddling in the French presidential campaign as "unacceptable." Jean-Marc Ayrault, in an interview published Sunday in newspaper Journal du Dimanche, said Russia appears to be targeting centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, while favouring more pro-Russia candidates such as conservative Francois Fillon and nationalist Marine Le Pen. Source
  • Texas hunters charged after claiming immigrants shot them

    World News CTV News
    PRESIDIO, Texas -- Two hunters accused in a shooting on a Texas ranch near the Mexican border had told authorities they were attacked by immigrants who had entered the U.S. illegally. Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez told Odesa television KOSA that a grand jury indicted Michael Bryant and Walker Daugherty on charges of using deadly conduct by discharging firearms in the direction of others. Source
  • U.S. slams Russia for recognizing Ukrainian rebel documents

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- The United States says it is disturbed by Russia's decision to recognize passports and other documents issued by rebel authorities in eastern Ukraine. The recognition, in an order signed by President Vladimir Putin that was announced Saturday, "is alarming and contradicts the agreed-upon goals of the Minsk Agreement," the U.S. Source
  • Federal Ottawa-Vanier byelection happening April 3

    Canada News CBC News
    Ottawa-Vanier will elect a replacement for Mauril Bélanger on April 3, according to the Prime Minister's Office. Bélanger represented the urban riding for the Liberals from February 1995 until August 2016, when he died less than a year after announcing he had been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Source