President Trump pardoned Oregon rancher Dwight Hammond and his son Steve. The pair were jailed for arson and were the inspiration for the take-over of Malheur NWR by the Bundy mob.
Trump’s pardon was based on lobbying by Oregon Congressman Greg Walden who characterized the Hammonds as “responsible ranchers” and portrayed them as victims of government overreach.
Walden sought to minimize the multiple crimes the Hammonds have committed by suggesting they had merely burned a bit more than a hundred acres of public land, something that he tried to compare to normal everyday range management by federal agencies. So what’s the problem? The problem is that Walden is ignoring decades of violations committed by the Hammonds.
For instance, according to a High Country News story, the Hammonds set numerous fires to public lands over a 28-year period, that charred tens of thousands of acres.
According to the US Attorney office, in 2001 the Hammonds set one fire to hide the fact that they had poached at least seven deer out of season. A hunting guide who witnessed the event was forced to leave his camp and flee for his life to avoid the flames. The fire burned 139 acres of public property and destroyed evidence of their poaching.
After they set the fire, again according to the US Attorney’s office, the Hammonds threatened bodily harm to a teenage relative and told him to keep his mouth shut about the fire.
In 2006 Steve Hammond set…