Letter from William Thomas 4/4/94
2817 11th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
REPLY TO: 6270-1
April 4, 1994
Certified Mail No. P 150 697 652
Marvin C. Meier
U.S. Forest Service, Southern Region
1720 Peachtree Road NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30367
Dear Mr. Meier,
Thanks for your quick, thoughtful letter of March 18, 1994,
concerning my request for a fee waiver.
At the outset, I reserve the right to present additional
information beyond that contained in this appeal letter before
you make your final determination of my appeal, because I am not
absolutely certain that I understand the exact basis for the
initial denial of my fee waiver request. This is important
because the scope of judicial review is limited to the record
before the agency. As the Justice Department guide to the FOIA,
published in the September, 1988 edition of the Freedom of
Information Case List states, "it is crucial that the agency's
fee waiver denial letter create a comprehensive administrative
record of all the reasons for the denial." (p. 476)
With specific reference to the fee waiver issue: I am willing to
pay up to $1,000.00 dollars in request-related fees if you do not
grant the fee waiver. I wish to have processing of this request
begin promptly; I do not want your agency's failure to waive fees
prevent my request from being deemed "received." Because of my
offer to pay, you should process this request without waiting for
final determination of fee waiver status.
To clarify the information provided in my letter of February 24,
As you know, the FOIA provides that even if some requested
material is properly exempted from mandatory disclosure, all
segregable portions must be released. [5 USC 552(b)] Please
inform me of the specific exemptions that are being claimed. If
any of the requested material is released with deletions, I ask
that each deletion be marked to indicate the exemption(s) being
claimed to authorize each particular withholding.
In addition, I ask that your agency exercise its discretion to
release information that may be technically exempt but where
withholding would serve no important public interest.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
1. I understand the Forest Service is considering new regulations
regarding various restrictions on the use of national forests, in
addition to permits for large groups of more than 25 people in
National Forests. I am trying to gather information to determine
what impact such large gatherings actually have on the National
Forests, the Forest Service and other agencies. This information
will be used to comment on the draft regulations in the hope of
producing regulations which balance the harm of limitations on
public access as well as determining the harm caused to the
agencies and the forests by massive public access events.
We intend that the information will not only be used in drawing
up these comments, but also in educating regular participants in
massive public access events about any possible harm caused by
2. By determining the harm caused by these events, and educating
the participants in these events of those harms, the general
public will benefit from knowledge which will enable more
efficient utilization of those public resources.
3. It is expected that every member of the general public within
the legal jurisdiction of the United States will benefit by
determine precisely what harms to the national forests require
law enforcement attention.
4. This is my first time obtaining documents for dissemination
under a FOIA request. Although new to the public dissemination
process, as the coordinator of People for Compassion (PCU), I
have complied a list of 645 individuals and groups with whom PCU
have maintained regular correspondence regarding the issue of
impacts to national forests that are serious enough to require
law enforcement resource utilization.
PCU is also an active member of the InterNet computer network,
and has used that media to disseminate information on massive
public events and harm to national forests to thousands of on-
Because the Forest Service has only recently raised the issue of
substantial harm from massive group use of national forests,
neither I nor PCU yet have an extensive track record of
transmitting information through established media channels.
However, comments by myself and other members of PCU have begun
appearing in mainline publications with greater regularity.
5. This information will not be used to generate income.
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