Trump gives permit to Eastern Oregon ranchers whose case led to occupation

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in the final days of the Trump administration issued a grazing permit to Oregon ranchers whose imprisonment sparked the 2016 armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge by right-wing extremists.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s restored Dwight and Steven Hammond’s grazing permit earlier this week, which lasts for 10 years, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

The father and son had their permit revoked after a jury convicted them in 2012 of arson on public lands a decade earlier.

The men went to prison, served time and were released, but the U.S. Department of Justice later ordered them back to prison to finish the mandatory minimum five-year sentence.

That kicked off the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which is 300 miles (483 kilometers) southeast of Portland. The Oregon State Police fatally shot one occupier, saying he reached for a pistol at a roadblock.

The leaders of the takeover, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and five others were later acquitted of conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the refuge.

In 2018, Then-President Donald Trump pardoned the Hammonds, allowing them to be freed from federal prison.

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