Pardoned ranchers win back grazing permits

By WND Staff

The Hammond family
The Hammonds (courtesy Hammond family)

The father and son who were pardoned by President Trump for their conviction on anti-terrorism charges for a prescribed burn that spread to public lands have been reissued cattle grazing permits by the federal government.

Dwight and Steven Hammond’s five-year sentence in 2015 under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act provoked outrage in the West. The protests culminated in a 41-day standoff by Nevada ranchers Ammon and Ryan Bundy at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon. Authorities shot and killed one protester, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, during the occupation.

A Bureau of Land Management spokesman said Tuesday it had reinstated grazing permits for Hammond Ranches in Harney County, Oregon, the Washington Times reported.

Reinstating permits was “the final step in righting the egregious injustices the Hammonds faced,” said Public Lands Council President Bob Skinner and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester in a statement.

“This is the culmination of years of effort on behalf of this industry to restore a family’s livelihood,” they said.

Ethan Lane, senior executive director of PLC and NCBA Federal Lands, said the Hammonds never sought the attention they received from the Malheur occupation.

“There’s been a rush to attach a lot of baggage to this thing, but if you really drill down to the actual issue, this is in our opinion the appropriate course of action, to restore their permits,” he said, according to the Times.

Lane noted the legal fight was over the normal ranching practice of backburning.

The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service have also set managed burns that flared out of control and onto private land, he argued, but “there are no legal consequences.”

Lane said that “when a family tries to protect their private property in a similar manner and they’re put in prison on terrorism charges, it tends to build that narrative of mistrust.”

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