Washington, D.C. — The anti-government extremism that fueled the insurrection on January 6, 2021 aligns almost perfectly with the violent opposition to public lands conservation, a new report from the nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US found. 

Anti-government extremists who want to end public ownership of land and water have infiltrated the halls of power from county commissioners all the way to the United States Congress, according to the report which can be downloaded HERE. Those same leaders and their allies in groups such as the Oath Keepers have been on the front lines of the attempt to overturn the 2020 Election and undermine democracy based on Donald Trump’s “Big Lie.”  

“It is time to call opposition to conservation what it truly is: an attack on American democracy,” said Kyle Herrig, President of Accountable.US. “The movement to end public ownership of land is almost identical to the movement to overrule the public’s right to choose who leads the country.”  

Key findings from the report reveal the far-reaching connections between anti-public lands and anti-democracy leaders and groups:

  • Before the Oath Keepers tried to overturn the 2020 election, they participated in multiple armed attacks on public lands in Nevada, Oregon, and Montana. [The Atlantic, 09/30/20; Vox, 11/07/16; Montana Public Radio, 08/12/15]
     
  • Cliven Bundy declared “Range War” on the federal government prior and supported the forcible occupation of the capitol during the January 6 riot [Reno Gazette Journal, 01/08/21; Vox, 05/14/15].
     
  • Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar encouraged lawbreaking at the January 6 insurrection and the selling off of public lands  [Business Insider, 10/24/21; Paul Gosar, D.D.S., 07/15/16].
     
  • Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert collaborated with extremists comparing protecting public lands to Hitler and Stalin and was reported to have been in prior contact with the organizers of the January 6 attacks.  [Washington Post, 01/19/21; Rolling Stone, 10/24/21; The Guardian, 05/14/21].
     
  • Right-wing talk show host Trent Loos, who has been a leading critic of campaigns to protect nature, supported violence during the capitol riots and participated in the occupation of Malheur wildlife reserve [Facebook, 01/11/16; The Oregonian, 01/02/16; High Plains Journal – Op Ed by Trent Loos, 04/3/21].

Read the full analysis. 

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