In 2016, anti-government extremist Ammon Bundy led a deadly 41-day militia standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Earlier this week on Easter Sunday, Bundy hosted a large worship gathering in open defiance of Idaho’s stay-at-home orders. What are the connections between Bundy’s politics, public lands, and the COVID-19 pandemic?
On today’s episode, we explore these questions with Betsy Gaines Quammen, author of the new book American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God and Public Lands in the West. She situates the current “liberty rebellion” against state governors issuing shelter-in-place orders in the context of longstanding Bundy family politics, rural culture in the American West, and Mormon religious history and land ethic. She also offers updates on the status of protected public lands in Utah under threat by the Trump administration, including the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.
Then, Vicki Berenson of Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin responds to this week’s announcement that, after a years-long review process, the Air Force is officially siting a squadron of F-35 fighter jets in Madison, and gives information about tomorrow’s car caravan protest.
Betsy Gaines Quammen is an environmental historian and conservationist based in Montana. Her writing is featured in Encyclopedia of Nature and Religion (2005), Biodiversity of the World, Conservation from Genes to Landscapes: Snow Leopards (2016), and The Earth Will Appear as the Garden of Eden: Essays on Mormon Environmental History (2019). She is the author of American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God and Public Lands in the West (Torrey House Press, 2020).