Are federal policies and aggressive agencies purposefully driving people out of rural West?

March 17, 2016

Goal is to get people to leave rural West

Government, environmentalists want people to leave.

By Loren Stout

As originally published by Capital Press

In all the news coverage about the incident in Burns, Ore., I have not seen any reporting on the main driving forces behind the occupation. What has been kept quiet is the involvement of our federal senators, government agencies and environmental groups in driving a bunch of ranchers to such extreme measures.

During the last 20 years a huge amount of lawsuits have been filed by the government and environmental groups to try and put the miners, farmers, ranchers and loggers out of business.

During one these lawsuits I was involved in, the environmentalists were called out for using inadequate data and unqualified personnel to further their claims. At this point it became very apparent what lengths the environmentalists and some federal and state employees would go to put the rural people out of business.

To alleviate this situation, we got the bright idea to meet with Sen. Ron Wyden. During this face-to-face meeting, he told us this these practices were wrong and to give him a call anytime that he would help us. About a month later one of the ranchers that was at the meeting met with the senator’s staff. He asked for some help and was told that the ranchers were not on the senator’s priority list, and would not help us.

A real blow to the rural West came when Sen. Wyden decided lawsuits were not crushing the rural people fast enough. They saw their opening when the Secretary of the Interior lost his job. The confirmation hearings for the new person amounted to nothing…. It appears this person’s only relevant qualification was the ability to go after the rural lifestyle with whatever means it took. This person is now secretary of Interior.

It has paid huge dividends. All of the court cases that have been won by the citizens of the U.S. can now be circumvented by regulations. A perfect example is the sage grouse. The people thought there was finally some justice when the bird was not listed as endangered but as it turns out they are worse off because of the regulations the new secretary of Interior imposed on the lands surrounding the bird.

A little closer to home, the plan is to steal 2 million acres from Malheur County to tie up the mineral deposits and in the process put all the ranchers out of business.

Looking back on it, it has been a systematic breakdown of the rural West since the 1990s. The politicians and the environmentalists learned there was a lot of money to be made by eliminating the rural people and the jobs that were associated with natural resources. If they could stop the schools from being funded and with no jobs to make payments, people surely had to leave.

Then came the idea if we create more government agencies, they can tie up the resources with endless regulation, and nothing will be managed and every citizen loses. The agencies learned they would be rewarded if they followed this very premise.


Then some of our very deepest thinkers became involved. They can set huge tracts of land aside and help other countries out. These countries would surely pay us more than all these jobs would. Donors would get what they wanted, environmentalists would get their cut, and look at all the money that would be left over.

No matter whether you agree or disagree with the people who took over the Malheur Refuge, they did bring to light the abuses and prejudices that are being used against the rural communities and citizens of the rural West for individual gain. We have been sold like a band of sheep.

The rural people have always been very resilient. I believe this ordeal in Burns may be the tip of the iceberg. It also shows how far the government is willing to go to protect its financial dealings. They do not bring in 200 para-military personnel just to collect an overdue grazing bill from a single rancher in Nevada.

Get to the bottom of that question and we may get some answers on who and why they are willing to sacrifice the livelihoods of thousands of Americans because of what we do for a living and where we choose to live.

Loren Stout’s family arrived in Grant County, Ore., in 1878. He ranches near John Day.

Reposted by 3/17/16

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