It's not just the Oregon militia: Why many Westerners get angry about federal land rightsBreaking News
tags: Oregon militia
By all accounts, the militia that seized the headquarters of the federal Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, isn't terribly popular with locals. Most people aren't fans of illegal armed takeovers, especially by outsiders.
That said, one of the militia's core grievances doesseem to resonate with many people in eastern Oregon. Specifically, they're upset with the way the federal government manages the land it owns around the state. And it owns a lot: Federal agencies control 52.9 percent of Oregon land, including three-fourths of Harney County.
The Washington Post spoke with a number of locals around Burns. No one supported the militia's nutty tactics, but many bristled at federal land management in this rural area. In recent decades, residents griped, new environmental rules around conservation and endangered species have limited ranching, grazing, and mining. "What people in Western states are dealing with is the destruction of their way of life," said one.
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