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  • Susan Gallagher

Malheur Bullies

I know $1.4 billion could get me a lot more, but when I win the Powerball, the first thing I'll do is buy up the twelve acre wooded lot behind my house. The property owner plans to build there "someday", and while he seems like a nice enough guy, I'd just rather those woods were left alone.

Back in the day, Republican President Teddy Roosevelt acted on similar aspirations when he set aside 230 million acres of public land: parks, preserves and refuges for wildlife and all citizens to share. Hikers, sportsmen, ranchers, birdwatchers--even outdoor entrepreneurs are welcome to enjoy and perhaps profit from the land, provided they're willing to share.

If someone refuses to share, I'd call them childish. If they refuse with a gun in their hands, I'd call them a bully at best, a criminal at worst.

Despite what the Oregon militiamen holed up at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge would have you believe, ranchers have access--cheap access--to lots of federal land for cattle grazing. They're just supposed to... you know... share it with the rest of us.

Like all National Wildlife Refuges, Malheaur is a treasure that belongs to me, to you, and to everybody. Bullies shouldn't get to decide how its resources are used.

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