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Oregon ecoterrorists plead guilty

[JURIST] Environmental extremists in Oregon pleaded guilty [US Attorney press release] to conspiracy and arson on Thursday for their roles in a streak of environmentally motivated arsons by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) [advocacy website] and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) [advocacy website] over the course of five years. US federal prosecutors said they would ask for a five year sentence for one of the ecoterrorists and eight years each for the remaining three for their roles in the Pacific Northwest firebombings, which caused around $30 million in damage. From 1996 to 2001, the ALF and the ELF claimed responsibility for firebomb attacks on US Forest Service ranger stations, Bureau of Land Management wild horse facilities, meat processing companies, lumber companies, a high-tension power line, and SUV dealerships in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, and Wyoming. The group also targeted ski resort expansion into an endangered species habitat in Vail, Colorado.

The extremists who pleaded guilty on Thursday included some of the ALF and ELF operatives who were indicted [JURIST report] for those crimes in January. Three other ALF and ELF members were also indicted [JURIST report] in January for targeting a dam and fish hatchery in northern California. The two cells are not known to have been directly connected. AP has more. In May 2005 a top FBI official testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that violent environmental and animal rights groups are the nation's top domestic terror threat [testimony transcript; JURIST report].

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