Following the escalation of tensions brought about by the BLM and other Federal Agencies in the Harney County Area of Oregon specifically but not limited to the legal actions taken against Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond by said federal agencies, question as to what is really going on within this region poses itself.
Looking solely at the Hammond situation it has been learned that by the end of 1970's nearly all the ranches adjacent to the Blitzen Valley in Harney County, Oregon were purchased by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and added to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge now covers over 187,000 acres and stretches over 45 miles long and 37 miles wide. The expansion of the refuge grew and surrounds the Hammond's ranch.
Being approached numerous times by the FWS, the Hammonds refused to sell their property. Other ranchers also choose not to sell.
During the 1970's the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), took a different approach in an attempt to force the ranchers to sell. Ranchers were told that, "grazing within the area was detrimental to wildlife and must be reduced." Thirty-Two of Fifty-Three existing permits were consequently revoked and many ranchers were forced to leave. Grazing fees were raised significantly for those who were allowed to remain. BLM Refuge personnel took over the irrigation system as well as water rights claiming them as their own.
By 1980 a conflict was well on its way over water allocations on the adjacent privately owned Silvies Plain. The FWS wanted to acquire the ranch lands on the Silvies Plain to add to their already vast holdings. Refuge personnel intentionally diverted the water to bypass the vast meadowlands, directing the water into the rising Malheur Lakes. Within a few short years the surface area of the lakes doubled. Thirty-one ranches on the Silvies plains were flooded. Homes, corrals, barns and grazing land were washed a way and destroyed. The ranchers that once fought to keep the FWS from taking their land, now broke and destroyed, begged the FWS to acquire their now useless ranches. In 1989 the waters began to recede and now the once thriving privately owned Silvies plains are a proud part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge claimed by the FWS.
By the 1990's the Hammonds were one of the very few ranchers that still owned private property adjacent to the refuge. The Hammond's in an effort to make sense of what was happening began compiling facts about the refuge. In a hidden public record they found a study that was done by the FWS in 1975. The study showed that the "no use" policies of the FWS on the refuge were causing the wildlife to leave the refuge and move to private property. The study showed that the private property adjacent to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge produced 4 times more ducks and geese than the refuge did. It also showed that the migrating birds were 13 times more likely to land on private property than on the refuge. When The Hammonds brought this to the attention of the FWS and refuge personnel, the family became the immediate subjects of a long train of abuses and corruptions.
In 1987 a US Geological Survey of the area was ordered and prepared under Survey number 1740-B. Since the time of the release of this report the geographical region has suffered a continual, unrelenting assault by numerous federal agencies...
Harney County, Oregon was once a solid center of rural employment. A Louisiana Pacific sawmill once churned out pine lumber and paychecks, but the sawmill has been shuttered for decades, the victim of changing international markets and more stringent federal forest policies imposed by both the BLM and the EPA.
Shortly following the closure of the lumber industry the BLM and EPA began assaulting other private industries and businesses within the region as well as private landowners utilizing a variety of federal regulations in what became a very apparent attempt to gain control of the entire region.
A long standing feud began between local residents, ranchers and a joint effort of private industry and government to introduce numerous massive wind farms into the region began to take shape and are still ongoing. Sounding familiar to everyone?
Harney County is remembered as a place of opportunity and entrepreneurship. Why would the federal Government seemingly be going out of its way to financially devastate an area and its residents? The fact that each of these projects are propped up by federal tax incentives is the salt in the wound of the citizens within the region.
There has to be more to this story and it is contained within the pages of the US Geological Survey number 1740-B.
It seems that, according to the Survey that the area in which Harney County is located is potentially rich in many natural resources including Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc, Arsenic, Mercury, Molybdenum, Coal, Diatomite, Bentonite Natural Gas and Uranium.
It appears that our elected officials are once again involved in the utilization of overreaching Federally mandated regulations in an attempt to gain control of the wealth of our nation with the belief that if they control the wealth of our nation they will control its people.
The once again obvious greed of federal government for both power and wealth are readily apparent in their actions within this region and clearly demonstrate their total commitment to their quest at any cost.
This piece was originally published at Red State Talk Radio on Facebook.