The Oregon congressman whose district includes the Burns area where armed protesters have taken over the headquarters of a national wildlife refuge said in an impassioned floor speech last night that mismanagement of federal lands and the actions of "overzealous bureaucrats" who "go beyond the law and clamp down on people" led to the protest.
Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican, said he doesn't condone the takeover but called on Congress to understand the frustrations of ranchers and other rural residents.
A video of his speech is here. Oregon Public Broadcasting's account of his speech is here.
My colleague Mateusz Perkowski is putting the finishing touches on a story on how environmental lawsuits and other land-related conflicts in that region have contributed to the discord in recent years. Watch for his story and other coverage of the occupation at CapitalPress.com.