In a most ironic twist in a western saga that has featured more than a few twists, the Bureau of Land Management hopes cattle from Dwight and Steven Hammond – ranchers the U.S. government prosecuted for starting range fires – can reduce a fire risk on the high desert of eastern Oregon.The Hammond’s long-running dispute with the federal government ended with prison sentences for arson — and later inspired the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation. President Trump pardoned the Hammonds in July of last year.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has restored grazing permits for the Hammond family from Oregon after losing the right to graze following federal charges that were later pardoned.
The announcement was made on Jan. 28 that Hammond Ranches would be able to graze their BLM allotments again. The BLM had stripped the right to graze after Dwight and Steven Hammond were convicted of felony arson in 2012. They were sentenced to five years imprisonment under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.
Lawyers for the family of Malheur National Wildlife occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum have 15 days to confirm they served dozens of defendants in his wrongful death lawsuit.
Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan handed down the directive Wednesday in federal court in Pendleton during a conference with the lawyers representing the Finicum family and a host of defendants. Sullivan said she wanted to meet the lawyers “because I think we may be spending some time together.”
The lawsuit names the United States as a defendant, along with the FBI, federal agents, the state of Oregon, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon State Police, Harney County, and more — including 100 law enforcement “John Does.” The suit seeks more than $5 million in damages for Finicum’s estate, his wife Jeanette Finicum and each of their 12 children.
Attorney Morgan Philpot of Utah represents the Finicums and told the court all of the defendants have been served.