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Friday, January 8, 2016

Oregon Land Dispute Highlights Broader Debate On Federal Land

Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. (Rob Kerr/AFP/Getty Images)

Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. (Rob Kerr/AFP/Getty Images)

It has been seven days since armed protesters seized control of several buildings on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward met face-to-face with the group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, on Thursday to try to bring a peaceful end to the occupation.

Bundy, who lives in Arizona, maintains that his group will not leave until two locals convicted of setting fire to federal land are released and the government relinquishes its control of that land so people can “reclaim their resources.”

The armed takeover has divided the community, with some seeing it as outsiders trying to further their own agenda under false pretenses. For others, however, it highlights a decades-long struggle, with federal land managers and environmentalists on one side and rural loggers, ranchers and miners on the other.

Columnist Timothy Egan spent years covering the American West for The New York Times. He speaks with Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd about his take on the long land dispute.

Guest

  • Timothy Egan, columnist for The New York Times, covering the environment, politics and the American West. He tweets @nytegan.

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