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Grazing permits blocked for ranchers in Oregon land dispute

The Hammonds served jail time for setting fires on federal pastures in Eastern Oregon.

Posted: Jun 5, 2019 3:26 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2019 3:35 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked the grazing permits issued to father and son ranchers who were the focus of a battle about public land.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Judge Michael H. Simon issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday, halting the permits granted to Dwight and Steven Hammond by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke before he left the administration of President Donald Trump.

Environmental groups had sued over the permits, arguing they were granted in violation of Bureau of Land Management policies.

The Hammonds served jail time for setting fires on federal pastures in Eastern Oregon. They became a cause celebre for brothers Ryan and Ammon Bundy in 2016 when a federal judge brought the Hammonds back to jail to serve a longer sentence.

The Bundys led a takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon as a protest of federal land-use decisions and policies.

President Donald Trump pardoned the Hammonds last year. And on Jan. 2, Zinke approved grazing permits for the father and son.

In their complaint, environmental groups led by Western Watersheds Project said Zinke issued the permits on his last day in office and that granting the permits overrode environmental concerns with the land and the Hammonds' use of it.

The Hammonds' "past violations of the terms and conditions of their livestock grazing permit included arson during extreme fire weather situations that resulted in the destruction of important habitat for greater sage grouse and the spread of the fire-prone invasive weed cheatgrass," the groups argued in their May 13 complaint.

Government attorneys countered that the environmental groups were attempting to interrupt "longstanding practice" involving cattle permit management. They argued the plaintiffs had a high bar to climb when attempting to "prevent cattle from moving from one allotment to another."

Simon granted a temporary restraining order and will revisit the legal issues in late June.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
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Jackson686284
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Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
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Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
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Coos93315
Morrow92710
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Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
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San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
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Tehama397142
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Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
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Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
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Plumas5735
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