Oregon standoff costs wildlife agency about $6M

Oregon standoff costs wildlife agency about $6M
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The occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year cost the Fish and Wildlife Service about $6 million, the agency’s head says.

Director Dan Ashe told reporters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that the 40-day armed standoff directly cost the agency about $2 million at the refuge, according to The Oregonian.

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It cost another $2.25 million to get Fish and Wildlife law enforcement officers to reinforce other refuges in hopes of preventing the occupation from spreading. The immediate restoration process at Malheur also cost another $1.7 million so far.

“We’re already in the range of about $6 million that the occupation has cost the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” he said during a visit to the site, according to the newspaper. “And our costs are going to continue to go up.”

That total doesn’t include other agencies involved, like the FBI, Oregon’s state police, the local sheriffs and others.

“This occupation has obviously cost the federal taxpayer millions and millions of dollars,” Ashe said.

Dozens of armed anti-government activists, led by the brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, occupied the remote bird sanctuary in January and February. They said they were protesting another family’s punishment for arson on nearby federal land, we well as generally opposing oppose federal land ownership and management.

The occupiers, many of whom have been arrested, vandalized and destroyed significant parts of the refuge.