Federal authorities are planning to cut off the power of the wildlife refuge in Oregon that has been taken over by militia, exposing the armed occupiers to sub-zero temperatures in an effort to flush them out.
Armed militants will begin their third day at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a remote federal outpost in eastern Oregon, on Tuesday, and have vowed to remain for months in protest over the treatment of two local cattle ranchers.
A federal government official told the Guardian that authorities were planning on Monday to cut the power at the refuge.
“It’s in the middle of nowhere,” said the official, who is based in Washington, DC, and has knowledge of the planned response to the militia. “And it’s flat-ass cold up there.”
The official, who asked not to be named, said they were not privy to the FBI’s plan of action. However, they said the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which is leading the crisis management reaction to the occupation in liaison with the FBI, planned to cut the power to the building where the militiamen are spending their nights.
Any such move would mark a significant escalation in the crisis. The local sheriff, FBI and other law enforcement officials have so far held back from confronting the militia, who are heavily armed and have lookouts on a watchtower.