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Addressing Questions And Rumors As Occupation Continues


The armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has now lasted nearly a month. Since the situation began on Jan. 2, it has grown in complexity at a rapid pace, sending social media channels into a frenzy.

As questions fly and the rumor mill churns, OPB reporters Amanda Peacher and John Sepulvado took to Twitter to trim the fat from this story playing out in southeastern Oregon.

Perhaps the most prevalent rumor floating around the Internet is that authorities have cut off power and water supplies to the refuge, which has never been confirmed.

Assuming authorities have not shut down utilities, people have asked why not. It seems like an easy way to shoo occupiers from the refuge while cold and snow still plague Burns and the surrounding area.

But it isn’t that simple.

Cutting power and water from the refuge could escalate the situation.

However, even if utilities are cut, occupiers came prepared, so it raises the question of whether doing so would be effective.

The discussion of cutting water and power from the refuge appears to stem from an apparent public desire for a solution.

People inside and outside Harney County have asked why the occupation has not come to an end. They question law enforcement’s patience with Ammon Bundy, who recently began negotiations with the FBI, and the rest of the occupiers.

What is taking so long? Law enforcement won’t say.

But if they have evidence of illegal activity, can’t officials simply arrest the militants?

It is impossible to say when the occupation will end, but people have questioned how long it can possibly continue.

Militants have a steady stream of supplies and have shown as much enthusiasm for their cause. Many of the occupiers are out of jobs or other sources of income, but have put out calls for donations, which seem to arrive easily.

Aside from occupation X’s and O’s, people showed concern for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and its well-being.

They have asked about media presence, which has dwindled since the occupation’s height.

And they have inquired about the community of Burns.

To read the rest of the Q&A with Sepulvado and Peacher, follow them on Twitter at @JohnLGC and @amandapeacher.

For continuing coverage of the refuge occupation, check out our series page and follow us on Twitter at @OPB.

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