Letter from William Thomas 12/5/93
P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038
December 5, 1993
Office of the General Counsel, Natural Resources Division
14th & Independence Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090
Dear Ms. Hornstein,
We've never met, but your name pops up every time any employee of
the administrative branch cancels a meeting to discuss proposed
amendments 36 CFR 251 & 261. As you know, these sections govern
special uses of the National Forest System. I am very curious to
know the specific legal authority which allows you to interfere
with meetings between the public and administrative officials.
You and I had a telephone conversation on or about July 26th of
this year, after you had been instrumental in deep sixing a
meeting between Kathy Way, of the White House Domestic Policy
Office, and members of the public to discuss this regulation. At
that time your explanation was that the public comment period was
still in effect and that it was improper for a White House
official to conduct "ex parte" communications regarding the
rulemaking proposal. The public comment period ended on August
4, 1993. A final rule is reportedly being written.
Now, I understand, you recently short-circuited another tentative
meeting, this time between interested members of the public and
Assistant Secretary Lyons. Again you reportedly claimed " ex
My personal intent has been to initiate dialogue between all
interested parties. If you know of any private groups or
individuals who are in favor of implementing these regulations,
by all means I agree they too should be party to any meeting
between members of the public with interest in the proposed
regulations and members of the administrative branch.
Even if ex parte communications were a legitimate concern, I
would suggest that due process msut be considered as a mitigating
factor regarding ex parte communications.
In short, I would like to know chapter and verse of the legal
authority on which you rely for short-circuiting public meetings
with administrative officials to discuss this issue.
If you cannot consider this as a Freedom of Information Act
request, please inform me as to your authority.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
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