Congress Should Confront the Rise of Violent Extremism on America’s Public Lands

Center for American Progress

[From Press Release] A new analysis released today by the Center for American Progress makes the case that in the wake of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the U.S. Congress should launch an investigation into the rise of violent anti-government extremism on America’s public lands…

CAP’s analysis identifies several financial irregularities among the militia and anti-government groups that helped organize and incite the recent armed takeovers of public lands. Donations to at least three of the groups, for example, appear to be routed to individuals or private companies, including an Arizona truck rental company and a knife store in Colorado.

The paper also argues that Congress’ investigation should aim, in part, to identify the resources and policies that U.S. land management agencies need to help improve public safety and protections for the resources with which they are entrusted. The Bureau of Land Management, for example, is so underresourced that it has only 124 law enforcement rangers to patrol 245 million acres of public lands. Moreover, Congress should ask the Government Accountability Office to conduct a review of the agencies’ preparedness and response policies for armed confrontations on public lands…

[Politico’s Morning Energy] Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a longtime critic of the anti-federal government protests launched by Cliven Bundy and his sons, formally praised the liberal Center for American Progress for a Thursday report contending that “Congress has been a compliant witness to the rise of violent extremism on America’s public lands.” The report “shines a much-needed spotlight on the threat posed by anti-government extremists,” Reid said in a statement.


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