Letter from PCU 7/22/93

POB 27217
Washington, DC 20038

July 22, 1993

Senator Patrick Leahy
Russell Building, Room 433
Washington D.C. 205l0

Re: Proposed Forest Service Regulations # 36 CFR Parts 25l - 26l

Dear Senator Leahy:

We have had a meeting with your aides Brooks Preston and Mary. We have spoken more extensively with Brooks on the phone and have had personal contact with you through Matteo Ferreira in regards to the new amendments to F.S. Reg. # 36 CFR Parts 25l - 26l.

Your office seemed familiar with these issues and expressed with enthusiastic gratitude that we (as a group) have become involved.

We seem in agreement on the unconstitutionality of 26l.l0 (g); Distribution of Printed Material and how this infringes on our rights of free exercise of belief and expression, the First Amendment's freedom of Speech.

We hope to clarify why a mandatory permit application process to use the National Forest is an infringement upon the people's right to Assemble and Worship.

Passage of these regulations will give one government agency (the Forest Service) the power to grant or deny permits for 25 people or more to gather on "Public Lands."

Where else can people gather other than National Forest land? The first time the Forest Service denies a permit will be a direct assault on not only that particular group's right to peaceable assembly; any group (such as large families, church and school outings, office parties) will be subject to the scrutiny and whim of individual officials and law enforcement officers.

Regulations are being designed to protect our forest from people and their "possible impacts" when far more destructive special interest industries such as cattle grazing, logging and strip mining continue to be granted use of the National Forest, often at a monetary loss to the taxpayers and even at the cost of entire eco-systems.

Based on what criteria??? And at whose authority???

The way the amendments to the regulations read (25l.54 H 1 / 25l.54 F 5), an "authorized officer" shall grant special use authorization to non-commercial groups upon determination that the 7 Criteria (enclosed) are met, and the decision to grant or deny shall be made without "unreasonable" delay.

To us that is stating: "Any Forest Service officer can grant or deny an application whenever he or she gets around to it."

It is our opinion this gives the Forest Service sole authority to decide who does and who does not have the right to gather in the National Forest when in groups larger than 25, and/or leeway to delay their decision beyond the actual date of the event.

In giving the Forest Service power to disrupt our freedom to circulate literature and peaceably assemble, we lose our right to petition our government for redress of grievances. These basic human rights must be protected!!!

So - we again ask you to help us STOP These Regulations!!!

We request that your office:
1. Send an aide to attend the Wed July 28th meeting at l:00 p.m. with Kathryn Way, Assistant Domestic Policy Advisor. Please call her office for the location (456-7777).

2. Call Bill Svensen at the Forest Service (202) 205-l407 to oppose the regulation.

3. Call, write, or meet with:
Jim Lyons Assistant Secretary for the Environment United States Department of Agriculture, Rm 2l7 Washington D.C. 20250 (202) 720-3076 (202) 720-4732 (FAX)
and inform him you have concerns about this regulation.

We greatly appreciate the time and energy you and your office have directed towards this matter thus far and look forward to our continued co-operation in fighting for the Constitutional Rights of all the people.

Very Sincerely, from our hearts,

Sandy L. Hanson
423 West Oakwood Dr.
Barrington IL 60010

Matteo Ferreira
1832 Park Rd. NW
Washington DC 20001

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