Letter from PCU 7/27/93
People for Compassion and Understanding
Washington, DC 20038
July 27, 1993
Representative Joel Hefley
Re: Proposed Forest Service Regulations # 36 CFR Parts 25l-26l
2442 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Hefley,
We have had a meeting with your aide Larry Ho Jo to discuss the
new amendments proposed to Forest Service Regulation # 36 CFR 25l
Passage of these proposed regulations would restrict both our
Constitutional Rights, The Freedom of Speech and The Freedom to
Peaceable Assembly; in that the Forest Service will regulate the
distribution of "printed material" in the National Forest and
also require a permit for 25 people (or more) to gather on
National Forest land. The land that we thought belonged to all
It is my understanding that Freedom of Speech means the right to
freely share ideas. Regulating the distribution of printed
material seems clearly an infringement on that right.
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
seven criteria 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/she gets around to it.
This empowers the Forest Service with the sole authority to
decide who and who does not have the right to gather in the
National Forest and/or the leeway to delay the decision beyond
the actual date of the event.
In giving the Forest Service this power to disrupt our freedom to
circulate literature and peaceable assembly, we lose our right to
petition our government for redress of grievances. These basic
human rights must be protected!
These 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 the cost of entire eco-systems!
Where else can people gather other than National Forest Land???
The first time the Forest Service denies a permit, it will be a
direct assault on not only that particular group's First
Amendment Right to peaceable assembly; any group (such as large
families, church and school outings) will be subject to the
scrutiny and whim of individual officials and law enforcement
As we spoke with Mr. Ho Jo and the issues became clearer to him,
he was frankly perplexed as to the motives of the Forest Service
and curious as to the origins of these regulations. He agreed to
call his preferred contacts at the agency and hear their
rationale first-hand, and to share his findings with us in a
follow-up phone call to your office mid-week.
So--again we ask you to help us STOP these Regulations!
Please familiarize yourself with the proposed regulations,
consider their chilling effect on our Constitutional rights, and
support our crucial effort to stop them.
We request that your office:
We greatly appreciate the time and energy your office has
directed towards this matter thus far and look forward to our
continued co-operation in fighting for the Constitutional Rights
of all the people.
1) Send an aide to attend the Wed July 28th meeting at
l:30 pm with Kathryn Way, Assistant Domestic Policy
Advisor, Rm 221-A, USDA Administration Building
2) Call Bill Svensen at the Forest Service (202) 205-1407
to oppose the regulations.
3) Call, write, or meet with:
and inform him you have concerns about these
Assistant Secretary for the Environment
United States Department of Agriculture, Rm 217
Washington D.C. 20250
(202) 720-4732 (FAX)
From our Hearts,
Sandy L. Hanson & People for Compassion and Understanding
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