Today, President Trump announced the pardon of Dwight and Steve Hammond, two ranchers from Eastern Oregon who were prosecuted under the Antiterrorism Act of 1996 for lighting a backfire on their private property and sentenced to five years in prison. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released the following statement about the news.
Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment Myron Ebell said:
“We applaud President Trump for unconditionally pardoning Dwight and Steve Hammond and thereby correcting a gross injustice done to American citizens perpetrated by the Obama Administration. The outrageous prosecution of the Hammonds under the Antiterrorism Act of 1996 for lighting a backfire in order to protect their house, ranch buildings, and grazing land was a new highwater mark in federal persecution of federal lands users in the intermountain West. The fact is that the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service have been harassing the Hammond family (and many others) for decades to force them to give up their grazing allotments and water rights and to sell their land to the federal government.
“As a fellow native of eastern Oregon, I have met the Hammonds and know them to be the sorts of ranchers who are good stewards of their land and of the federal land where they run their cattle. The Hammonds are also the kinds of neighbors everyone hopes to have. I have heard over and over that if a fellow rancher or just a traveler through the Oregon desert had a problem, one of them would drop everything and get in his pickup truck and be there to give a helping hand. President Trump has given Dwight and Steve Hammond their freedom, cleared their names, and undone an injustice. There will be jubilation across the rural West.”