Thursday, January 28, 2016

It's not over even if it's over

This is a good report for as long as you disregard the author's overblown claim to possessing the true answer to the US urban rural conflict. The claim, however, makes his admission to the possibility of the Bundy cause gathering momentum even more reliable.

By Naseem Rakha (Guardian) {

Date = 28 January 2016
Source = After the Oregon standoff: Can lost goodwill be recaptured?

To them, wolf introductions, wilderness proposals, bans on timber harvest and reduction in grazing units clearly prioritize environment over livelihood. Shuttered mills and feed stores, abandoned libraries, anemic public services are perceived to be a product of an overreaching, unsympathetic and aggressively arrogant government infrastructure lubricated by urban and urbane values, rather than what it really is: a symptom of an economic system gone amok.


The answer to this problem, however, is not the demonization of government nor in the privatization of land.

Ironically, the answer, according to Harney County rancher Fred Otley, lies in just the kind of cooperative plans that he and other ranchers and conservationists helped create with the Malheur wildlife refuge and Bureau of Land Management in 2013.

The landmark effort brought together all interest groups to develop a shared vision for the land which included economic, environmental and social needs. It took more than five years of hard work, long conversations and detailed biologic assessments to complete the project. In the end, ranchers signed a 30-year agreement with the government to protect the sage grouse habitat on their private lands, in exchange for the continued use of public lands for well-monitored grazing.

The cooperative effort included 53 ranches and 320,000 acres of public and private land. In March, interior secretary Sally Jewell visited Harney County, dubbing the Malheur plan “the Oregon way.” It and similar work in other parts of the west have been credited for the recent US Fish and Wildlife Service decision to not list the sage grouse as endangered. “We started saying what’s good for the bird is good for the herd,” said Tom Sharp, a Harney County rancher who helped launch the effort.

Sharp, Otley and community members are concerned that the militants illegal occupation of the refuge and their incendiary claims that the federal government has no right to own land in the state, will derail the goodwill that has been created in the county. After generations in the area, they know how quickly misunderstandings can lead to decade-long feuds.


While it appears Bundy and his gang are on the way out, their God-loving, gun-toting, live-free-or-die message is not likely to go away. The reason Bundy and other leaders were caught is they were heading out to meet with more than 100 supporters in the next county over. Before he was arrested, Bundy said he had been invited to attend another community meeting later this week. “We have a lot of support,” he told reporters.

Unfortunately, he may be right. }