America's Oldest Question: Who Owns the Land?

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The current standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon is the latest example of "sagebrush rebellions" that dot the history of the American West. The federal government owns a majority of the land on behalf of all Americans. But local residents become outraged if their interests aren't being protected. In this case, armed outsiders claim the right to take over, even though locals don't agree. But the basic truth of the matter is this: Cattle ranching, mining, oil drilling, recreation and environmental protection often have trouble getting along.




Warren Olney