State purchase of E. Ore. ranch meets opposition

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ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) -- The state's plan to buy a ranch in Eastern Oregon for wildlife habitat, hunting and fishing is meeting opposition.

The Ontario Argus Observer reports (http://bit.ly/uCL8lF ) the Fish and Wildlife Department is negotiating for the spread along the Malheur River. It has set aside $2 million in mitigation money paid by a company that built a gas pipeline from Wyoming through Eastern Oregon.

Including a lease and grazing permit, the sale would encompass more than 3,000 acres.

At a meeting Tuesday, a rancher said he didn't trust the government as a neighbor. Another opponent called the purchase part of an effort to curtail cattle raising.

The Malheur County commissioners oppose the purchase, and a local economic development group called for a delay for more analysis.

Hunters supported the purchase.

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Information from: Argus Observer, http://www.argusobserver.com