Although the leaders of the Oregon occupation of the Masher National Wildlife Preserve have been arrested, the situation drags on, costing the local community an exorbitant amount of money per day. Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon has a plan to keep the local community from having to pay the bill.
Blumenauer believes that his legislation would “allow for the federal government to go after the armed people who started it.” He thinks that it is unjust that the “people of Harney County shouldn’t have to suffer twice — had the disruption and then have to pay the bill.”
The legislation that the congressman is introducing would force the federal government to reimburse state and local law enforcement for any costs incurred during the occupation that were above their standard budget. Then he wants them sue the occupiers for the cost of the reimbursements.
Blumenauer believes that forcing the militants to pay the bill will “send a strong signal that an armed takeover of federal land is unacceptable, and not without consequences.”
“It is not just enough to enforce the law. We should recover damages from lawbreakers who tear up the landscape, degrade wildlife habitat, and destroy property.” Blumenauer said.
The occupation is estimated to be costing local authorities around $100,000 per week, with total costs over $1 million. Only four people remain occupying the refuge.