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DEMOCRATIC FORUM: Countering Extremism on America’s Public Lands


Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 Time: 01:00 PM Location: House Visitor Center Room 210

Witnesses

Hosts

  • Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), House Natural Resources Committee (STATEMENT)
  • Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), House Homeland Security Committee (STATEMENT)

Attendees

  • Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
  • Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA)
  • Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA)
  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
  • Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)
  • Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)

Witnesses

More Statements and Photos

Video

Background

Recent analyses have shown that attacks on federal land management officials and events like the armed takeover of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are become increasingly common.

Grijalva, Thompson and other Democratic members of Congress will hear from a group of experts about how public land takeovers threaten homeland security, public lands, local communities and public servants. The forum will kick off an effort to increase federal agencies’ capacity to prevent and respond to extremist threats.

A recent report by the Center for American Progress found that since 2014, anti-government militants have led five armed takeovers of national public lands. In a survey released last year, state and local law enforcement agencies placed anti-government extremism as one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdictions. According to theSouthern Poverty Law Center, anti-government groups grew by one third in 2015.

At the height of the Malheur takeover in Oregon earlier this year, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and 20 other Democrats signed a resolution urging the armed militia members in Oregon to leave the refuge and surrender peacefully to law enforcement officials. Since the 41-day takeover came to an end on February 11, 2016, House Republicans have refused to take congressional action to condemn the takeover or its perpetrators. House Democrats have asked for an oversight hearing on the takeover, but the majority has refused this request.

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Media contacts:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978
(Grijalva) Diane Padilla at (202) 225-6065