Letter from PCU 4/4/94

People for Compassion and Understanding
P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038

April 6, 1994

Forest Service Reinvention Team
ATT: Dixie Dice
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090

Dear Ms. Dice,

People for Compassion and Understanding vigorously applauds efforts to reinvent the Forest Service.

Due to the importance we attach to freedom of thought, assembly and communication, in the past year the USFS has published two rulemaking proposals which concern us a great deal, and appear to illustrate inconsistent and irrational administrative policies.

While the Forest Service administration permits, if not encourages, commercial ecosystem degradation, under the thinly veiled pretext of a "reasonable restriction" necessary to protect ecosystems, these two regulatory proposals would criminalize non- commercial freedom of assembly and distribution of literature.

On May 6, 1993 USFS proposed a regulation to require permits for the distribution of literature, and/or assembly of more than twenty-five people in a National Forest. Attachment 1. Twice, similar attempts to prohibit free assembly have been struck down by federal courts, Texas (1988) and Arizona (1084).

Essentially, this proposal would transform venerable "rights" into "privileges," subject to the whim of the agency or discretion of its agents. The Legal Land Use Review catalogues our concerns with this proposal. Attachment 2.

On February 16, 1994 USFS proposed an omnibus regulatory package, which includes, among many other questionable provisions, another prohibition on the dissemination of literature. Attachment 3.

Another issue of concern is the manner in which the agency has dealt with efforts to arrange public discussion on these proposals. Particularly where internal USFS comments raised precisely the same issues we sought to bring to a public meeting, our correspondence with Ellen Hornstein, and Jim Lyons seems to support the impression of agency recalcitrance. Attachment 4.

With all due respect, it appears to us that in some respects USFS policy is out of touch with reality. We urge your Team to scrutinize the rationality of broad administrative policies.


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