By: Renee Nal | New Zeal
President Trump pardoned ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, a father and son who were effectively political prisoners under the behemoth, politicized Bureau of Land Management.
There is an incredibly sick affront to justice happening right now, under all of our noses. A father and son, Dwight and Steven Hammond, continue to sit in prison as victims of a massive federal bureaucracy that has been hounding the family, as well as other ranching families, for decades. The Hammond family happens to own property desired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and have been pressured for decades to sell their land to the federal government following in the footsteps of their neighbors, who all eventually gave in.
After numerous legal battles ostensibly designed to beat the family into submission, the ranchers were charged with arson under the “Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996” years after setting two fires that spread to “public” lands in 2001 (spread onto 139 acres of vacant land – which ultimately improved the land) and 2006, an emergency backfire set in order to protect their property in 2006 during a lightening storm which spread and burned an acre of adjoining “public” land.
According to a website dedicated to preparedness:
Backfiring is a way of reducing the amount of flammable material by starting small fires along a manmade or natural firebreak in front of the main fire. These small fires are started on the side of the firebreak closest to the oncoming fire. These small fires are designed to ‘burn back towards the main fire front’ and are usually burning and traveling against ground level winds. This widens the firebreak and helps to suppress the main fire by removing the fuel.
With this in mind, consider recent news stories where controlled fires set by the government ended up spreading to other areas:
- Rabbit Creek wildfire continues to burn in Prince Albert National Park
- Wildfire inside P.A. National Park started as controlled burn
- Forest fire burning near Hyampom
- More than 700 acres have been destroyed by a wildfire.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today released the following statement applauding the pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond:
“Today is a win for justice, and an acknowledgement of our unique way of life in the high desert, rural West. I applaud President Trump for thoroughly reviewing the facts of this case, rightly determining the Hammonds were treated unfairly, and taking action to correct this injustice.
“For far too long, Dwight and Steven Hammond have been serving a mandatory minimum sentence that was established for terrorists. This is something that would ‘shock the conscience,’ according to Federal Judge Michael Hogan, who presided over the case and used his discretion in sentencing which later was reversed. As ranchers across eastern Oregon frequently tell me, the Hammonds didn’t deserve a five year sentence for using fire as a management tool, something the federal government does all the time.
“Moving forward, I’m encouraging the House Judiciary Committee to act on my legislation to prevent this situation from happening to other ranchers. H.R. 983 would ensure farmers and ranchers are not prosecuted as terrorists for using fire for range-management purposes.
“For now, though, I am pleased that Dwight and Steven Hammond will return to their families and ranches in Harney County. I look forward to welcoming them back home to eastern Oregon.”