Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Bundy revolution lives on in reinvigorated rural opposition to conservation areas

This report about protestations against another planned wildlife refuge in Oregon is interesting by a mention of the Bundy effect. Locals reportedly turned more confrontational in the wake of the standoff. The councilor actually doesn't deny the effect, only says that the opposition to the refuge would have been high regardless. More time is needed to see if the effect is real and persists, or fades away.

Other highlights of the report:

1. Opposition to the refuge is unanimous
2. They got plenty of energy to fight back. The report says "it doesn’t seem that will change soon".
3. They can do nothing except betting on the good will of the other side
4. The councilor is ready to travel to DC to stomp his feet.
5. If they do go to DC, there should come a moment when they get tired of stomping their feet for nothing
By Aaron West (The Bulletin) {

Date = Jan 30, 2016
Source = City, county governments reject Oregon Wild proposal

After Prineville citizens spoke out this week at a City Council meeting against proposed new wilderness and recreation areas in the Ochoco National Forest, their elected representatives on the council followed suit with a unanimous vote to oppose Oregon Wild’s proposal.

The vote puts the council in good company.

Community members have been vocal since November at organized information meetings and town hall events against the plan, which aims to designate more than 300,000 acres of the Ochoco National Forest as national recreation area.

“At the end of the day for me it came down to the fact that the plan isn’t economically or socially beneficial to the community,” Councilor Jason Carr said. “And I made it clear that my position wasn’t one in which I was simply making a rash decision based on public dissent — I came at it from a thoughtful standpoint.”

So the next question: what now? Ultimately, the votes are somewhat symbolic...

“It’s mainly about influencing the process,” Carr said. “We don’t have any sort of legal or constitutional authority to stop the process in its tracks. But I think the council voting unanimously, the county and the chamber of commerce voting unanimously — it all sends a loud and clear message this isn’t a plan we want to support.”

[...]

Meanwhile, Fernandez said the tone of community meetings, which started off civil last fall, has recently become unproductive.

“January came, Bundy fever took over, and things got less productive,” he said. “I think folks were a little riled up based on what was happening at the refuge. That made all the meetings in January less productive, and that was unfortunate, because we had been having some good conversations.”

Carr said it’s frustrating that Oregon Wild sees the community’s opinion as a product of the recent events in Harney County.

“It’s an unfair characterization,” he said. “The community cares about the land, and they’ve cared about the land for a very long time. This community would’ve been in just as much opposition with or without the Malheur wildlife refuge. Any time the media brings to light a certain issue it certainly makes people more aware of what’s going on, and you can’t deny the awareness that’s been brought to the management of public lands, or the issues between ranchers and BLM. But in terms of public interest of the Ochocos and creating a federal area with restrictions, I’m confident there would have been a very vocal and high amount of interest either way.”

Regardless, a high amount of interest does exist, and it doesn’t seem that will change soon.

“This is why the mayor made it known at the meeting that we agree with the opposition, but it doesn’t end here,” Carr said. “You’ve got to continue to fight, you’ve got to let your opinion to senators or congressmen be known. That’s how we’ll get this stopped.”

“We’ll just continue in this voice,” Fahlgren said. “Even if it takes us having to go to D.C. to stomp our feet.” }