The 41-day armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge has underscored fears that a new rebellion against federal authority is brewing in the West.
Veterans of public land fights in the 1970s see signs of a new Sagebrush -Rebellion, the name given to an at-times violent movement aimed at prying land away from the federal government and giving it to states and private owners.
William Perry Pendley, who wrote a book on the movement, directly links Obama’s climate change policies to the possibility of a new rebellion.
“It’s back today because President Obama’s governing like Jimmy Carter did. And it’s even worse, because you’ve got the war on coal, which is just devastating to places like Utah and Wyoming,” he said.
Pendley said the modern Sagebrush Rebellion will likely continue to grow if the next president doesn’t take their cause seriously, and he’s not optimistic the front-runners for either party, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, will be the answer.
There’s little doubt that Obama’s environmental push is a factor in the anger out West.
But critics say Obama’s policies aren’t any more adversarial to the region than his predecessors.