The Latest: Rancher renounces contract at Bundy event
Jan. 24, 2016
BURNS, Ore. (AP) — The latest on an armed group that took over buildings at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local):
A rancher from New Mexico renounced his U.S. Forest Service grazing contract at an event held Saturday by an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge in Oregon to protest federal land use policies.
Adrian Sewell of Grant County, New Mexico, took the action at the event attended by about 120 people at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. A group led by Ammon Bundy began occupying the refuge in eastern Oregon on Jan. 2. The group plans to open the 300-square-mile refuge for cattle this spring.
Bundy has said the federal government has no authority to enforce federal grazing contracts with ranchers.
Sewell said he didn't mind "standing out" as the only rancher to renounce his federal contract at Saturday's event. Sewell said he's restricted to allowing 85 cattle to graze on his federal allotment, where historically 600 animals have been allowed to graze.
About 40 people gathered Saturday near a national wildlife refuge in Oregon to protest against a group occupying the land.
The counter-protest began at about 1 p.m. at an overlook about five miles from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
The crowd chanted, "Go home, Bundys," naming the leaders of the occupation.
The group has occupied the national wildlife refuge since Jan. 2 to oppose federal land use policies.
Katie Fite from Boise, Idaho, called the occupiers bullies and said their action could give rise to other hate-filled efforts to take over public lands.
Kieran Seckling with the Center for Biological Diversity said the Bundys want to stage other occupancies like the one in Oregon, but he says there's no town in the West that wants to be the next Burns, Oregon.
The counter-protest was punctuated by bitter wind and sleet.