This came across me email from the LM Tribune online here.
The U.S. Forest Service is changing the process by which citizens can challenge timber sales and other actions.
Under the new guidelines, which are expected to be unveiled this week, people who want to challenge agency actions will be required to fully participate in the public review process and file formal objections prior to forest supervisors making final decisions.
Some of you may remember that I wrote my Senators asking why this had been requested by Congress last year and still hadn’t been completed. That was part of the post here Paid Gladiators and Unpaid Peacemakers: There Must Be a Better Way.”
Here is what happened:
Senator Udall’s office first wrote back and said they received my email. In about six weeks they sent a copy of a letter they sent to the Chief asking about it and for the Forest Service to write me back (I expect this became “controlled correspondence”). I never heard from the Forest Service, but if the objections rule is coming out, that’s what I wanted. As I noted before, they had a place for natural resources in their drop down menu.
Senator Bennett’s office never wrote back to say they received my email. About a month and a half in they sent a form letter saying that they noted my concerns and would take them into consideration (which actually wasn’t the point). This office’s dropdown didn’t have a place for natural resources so I had to select “environment.” For the State of Colorado. Really.
They are both in the same party, so it appears that it’s not a partisan issue.
Ed had mentioned in a previous comment here
In response to your great suggestion about working with (talking to) our fed reps, I have to share from an Idaho perspective. As you likely know, Idaho has gone totally to the right, with extreme GOP control at all levels, county, school boards, House and Senate. OK, I accept that we of the other persuasion are vastly outnumbered.
But I have, on a few occasions, emailed my federal reps in DC. Their electronic sites are a real test of how determined you are to finish. Layer after layer of background and categories before you can insert your message. And you go through this again and again, each time you want to confer. Can’t help but wonder if all this preliminary junk is really intended to screen us out so we won’t “bother them”.
And knowing that I and “them” are so politically separated, my efforts are half-hearted. Tried the phone a few times, but again how many comments to some intern answering the phone are really passed accurately to the congressmen or senators. Doubtful.
A real challenge to be an environmental Democrat in Idaho.
I know some of the rural economic groups have training in working with elected officials and even trips to DC, I wonder if some information is written down that could be shared here about how to work with Congressional folk? The retired feds may have some pent-up desire for this… but in some cases it has to be them who will have to find solutions to the problems we’ve identified.