Ranchers in the West are engaged in 21st-century range wars, but their adversaries are not the rustlers and cattle barons of lore. Federal land management agencies, overzealous officers, and self-righteous judges are the foes western ranchers fear the most.[FONT=times new roman]On October 7, father and son ranchers from Oregon, Dwight, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, were labeled as terrorists and sentenced to five years in federal prison under anti-terrorism laws. In 2001, a fire set by the Hammonds to eliminate overgrown sagebrush on their own property inadvertently spread to adjacent BLM land. The two were convicted of arson when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) accused them of using fire to destroy federal property. In 2006 Steven Hammond was again convicted of arson when he set several “backfires” on his ranch which burned nearby public acreage. Without seeking permission from the BLM, Hammond was attempting to save the ranch’s winter feed by setting prescriptive fires.[/FONT]
The BLM is at it again.