SCCA calls for support of Hammond Ranch in Oregon

**************************PRESS RELEASE***************************************

January 11, 2016
Asks public to sign petition to repeal additional jail sentence

The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association is urging people to sign a petition asking President Obama to pardon two Oregon ranchers who were re-sentenced to five years in federal prison for accidentally burning federal land.
The petition at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/commute-sentences-dwight-lincoln-hammond-jr-and-steven-dwight-hammond-both-harney-county-oregon must gain 100,000 signatures by the end of January in order to be considered by President Obama. The petition currently has over 11,000 signatures.

Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond were recently re-sentenced to additional jail time in a federal prison after fires on their private land accidentally spread to Bureau of Land Management land near the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Dwight,73, and Steven Hammond, 46, had already served three month and one-year prison terms, respectively, as well as paying a fine to BLM. However, a federal prosecutor had them re-sentenced under the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act that requires a mandatory 5 years in prison for anyone who “maliciously damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive,” any federal property.

“We believe that sending these ranchers to prison and treating them as terrorists when mismanagement of federal lands has caused countless acres to burn throughout the West is wrong,” said SCCA President Justin Hedrick. “We also don’t think that once someone has been tried and sentenced for any offense should be brought back for additional punishment.”

SCCA supports responsible management of all public lands and a multi-use approach that includes logging and grazing.

“When our public lands are well managed and the resources are responsibly used, everyone can benefit from the increased open space, the healthier tree stands and managed vegetation,” Hedrick said. “It’s just like we have been saying ‘log it, graze it or watch it burn’.”

 

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