Letter to the Editor for July 23, 2014

By Jayson Jacoby / The Baker City Herald

Forest officials don't want to listen to the public

In a letter dated July 17 of 2014 the forest supervisors of the three national forests (Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and Umatilla) of the Blue Mountains closed the door on public comment meetings to the people of Eastern Oregon.

Mr. Laurence of Baker, Ms. Raaf of John Day, and Mr. Martin of Pendleton all signed a letter provided to this paper stating that they did not feel there was a need for public comment meetings, and no extension was warranted as they were doing their due diligence to interact with the public of Eastern Oregon. Mr. Laurence assured a group of people on March 1 that such meetings would take place, now he is declining to move forward with those meetings as promised, yet another misrepresentation of the truth.

The people of Eastern Oregon not only deserve to have open public comment meetings on the Forest Plan Revision, they require such meetings because of the limited opportunities they have to comment on the 1,400-page document. The U.S. Forest Service has supplied three electronic means to submit comments, and one paper means, all in written format, with no way to articulate their positions verbally and has also stated you may visit a supervisor's or district office to submit comments, that is if one wants to be made to feel like a criminal in accessing an office building, or can get an appointment with a Forest Service employee to discuss the matter.

It is grossly apparent the USFS in Eastern Oregon does not want to engage with the public in Eastern Oregon in an open forum public comment meeting, and they are hoping that the written comment method will help limit the amount of comments they will receive in the matter.

You must stand up for yourselves and have a voice. Please contact the people below and let them know you expect and demand public comment meetings before the Aug. 15 cutoff deadline or request an extension of the comment period on the Forest Plan Revision.

Wallowa Whitman Forest Supervisor andndash; John Laurence andndash; jalaurence@fs.fed.us

Malheur Forest Supervisor Teresa Raaf andndash; traaf@fs.fed.us

Umatilla Forest Supervisor Kevin Martin andndash; kdmartin@fs.fed.us

Regional Forester Pena andndash; jpena@fs.fed.us

Secretary Vilsack andndash; tom.vilsack@usda.gov

Chief Tidwell andndash; ttidwell@fs.fed.us

John George

Bates

13148378
The Baker City Herald
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