Monday, January 4, 2016
The Occupation of Malheur by Armed, Out of State Militia Groups
The hysterics on the far right excuse the unlawful takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge because, according to their presidential hopefuls, news sites, and bloggers, the federal government has no right to own these lands in sovereign states, and the states should be sole owner and decision makers of what is to be done with the land within their borders. An idealistic, but unrealistic notion, since whomever is in charge of a state's government would be able to sell to the highest bidder the precious natural resources of said state (see below).
The hysterics on the far right think that states' rights mob rule is always in the best interests of any given situation, so we can see why they'd be on the side of the outlaws in this situation. This has nothing to do with "states rights," and everything to do with preserving our country's precious natural wildlife and resources.
The Audubon Society of Portland explains:
Audubon Society of Portland: Statement on the Occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
By Bob Sallinger * Jan. 3, 2016 *
Portland Audubon Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect the vast populations of waterbirds that were being decimated by wanton killing by the plume trade. The 188,000 acre refuge represents some of the most important bird habitat on the Pacific Flyway. It is one of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System and belongs to all Americans.
In 2013, the Refuge adopted a long-term management plan developed through an inclusive collaborative process that brought together the local community, tribes, conservation groups, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders. These stakeholders have continued to work together to implement this strategy which includes one of the biggest wetland restoration efforts ever undertaken.
The occupation of Malheur by armed, out of state militia groups puts one of America’s most important wildlife refuges at risk. It violates the most basic principles of the Public Trust Doctrine and holds hostage public lands and public resources to serve the very narrow political agenda of the occupiers.
The occupiers have used the flimsiest of pretexts to justify their actions—the conviction of two local ranchers in a case involving arson and poaching on public lands. Notably, neither the local community or the individuals convicted have requested or endorsed the occupation or the assistance of militia groups.
Portland Audubon fought 100 years ago to protect this incredible place. The powerful images taken by Portland Audubon founder, William Finley, of Malheur’s incredible bird populations and the wanton killing that was being inflicted upon them, caused President Roosevelt to make Malheur one of the first wildlife refuges in the Western United States.
Portland Audubon calls upon the local, state and federal authorities to once again protect this incredible place for the amazing wildlife that live there and to preserve this natural heritage for current and future generations. Portland Audubon greatly appreciates the outstanding federal employees that staff the refuge, as well as members of the local community who have rejected this occupation.
We hope for a safe, expeditious end to this armed occupation so that the myriad of local and non-local stakeholders can continue to work together to restore Malheur in ways that are supportive of both the local ecology and the local economy—the occupiers are serving nobody’s interests except their own.
From Stonekettle Station: