Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter spoke forcefully about observing the “rule of law” in his first comments on the armed protesters in adjacent eastern Oregon.
A small group of militants continues to occupy National Wildlife Refuge offices near Burns to protest federal lands policies.
“Do I understand their frustration? Nobody does more than I because if I had taken that same action I would have gone over and occupied the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (Service) when they decided to do what they did to the sage grouse and throw our plans clear out like they weren’t even of any consequence,” Otter said. “But it is the ‘rule of law.’ There are peaceful and legitimate ways to do things.”
Otter referred to his frustration with federal limits on grazing and land use to keep the greater sage grouse off the endangered species list. This past fall, the state of Idaho filed suit against the Obama administration to challenge the new land use restrictions.
Otter made his comments Thursday in an answer to a question at the AP Legislative Preview in Boise.