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Year after refuge takeover, quieter land battle unfolds


JOHN DAY, Ore. (AP) — A year after Ammon Bundy and his followers took over a national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon’s Harney County, a quieter, less visible struggle over public lands is occurring in neighboring Grant County.

This fall, a judge dissolved a Grant County commission that provided input in the management of public lands. Members of the Public Forest Commission are angry, saying they’ve lost a tool given to them by voters to oppose federal overreach.

They say the government is tightening access to natural resources by closing roads and curtailing logging and other industries that allowed previous generations to be self-sufficient.

Judge W.D. Cramer ruled this fall that the ballot measure that created the commission to manage public lands violated the U.S. and state constitutions and federal statutes.

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