A rancher from New Mexico made headlines because of his involvement in the Oregon occupation of a federal wildlife facility by militia members who oppose federal ownership of lands. The Associated Press reported that he was the only rancher to renounce his federal grazing permit at an event held on Saturday. The man is Adrian Sewell, a rancher who is from Grant County in southwest New Mexico. The group occupying the Oregon facility is led by Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Cliven Bundy became a national figure after an armed stand-off with federal agents over their efforts to collect on fines for grazing on federal lands
A peaceful protest over the imprisonment of a father and son on arson charges on federal land led to Ammon Bundy and others taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early January.
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich weighed in on the situation where “armed extremists” took over a federal bird sanctuary in rural Oregon earlier this month, saying that those responsible should be prosecuted. I find the latest Bundy land-grab scheme deeply disturbing. When you use armed intimidation to take over lands and property that belong to the American people, that’s not ‘taking back’ anything. It’s just stealing,” Heinrich said in a statement. Heinrich sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking her to prosecute those involved and tied them to the movement to give federal lands in the West to the states. “Unfortunately, the attack on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is only the latest effort in a growing campaign by anti-government interests to seize and sell off the American people’s public lands,” Heinrich wrote in the short letter.