The Story of the Hammonds and BLM Mistreatment

  In October of 2015, Harney County, Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond were sentenced to five years in federal prison under an eco-terrorism charge for a 2001 incident in which they say they were setting preventative fires on their own land in order to kill weeds and suck up water (something done as a normal part of ranching), but which eventually spread elsewhere to 138 acres of federally-owned land. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) pursued charges against the Hammonds and won. Dwight and Steven served minor sentences, which U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan felt was sufficient given a five-year mandatory sentence would be disproportionate to the severity of the offense. However, that was not enough for the federal government, which argued that the men could be charged again under the determination that Judge Hogan didn’t have the discretion to disregard mandatory minimum sentencing. The re-sentencing resulted in a five year prison sentence for the Hammonds. This sparked outrage all over the country, from the Oregon Farm Bureau to ranchers from other states who have similarly seen the BLM overstep its boundaries. Many people have come to the Hammonds’ defense, such as U.S. Representative Greg Walden (OR), who went … Continue reading The Story of the Hammonds and BLM Mistreatment