fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Appeal workshop helps show people the ropes

Almost 30 people attended a recent workshop in the Ashland — Public Library that dealt with writing and filing an administrative appeal — to the Mount Ashland Ski Area expansion project.

Many community members have expressed both support and — opposition to the approved expansion. According to the final environmental — impact statement, 3,269 comments were received during the 90-day comment — period following the draft EIS, almost half of which supported the final — chosen alternative.

Of those who submitted comments, about 40 to 50 intend — to appeal the Forest Service's decision, said Tracy Bungay, one of the — organizers of the workshop.

"It is a group of people that came together to talk about — what we can do next," Bungay said.

Bungay said the appeals are individual choices; the workshop — was designed to give citizens another tool at their disposal.

The appeal must be postmarked by Nov. 8 to the appeal — deciding officer, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester Linda Goodman in — Portland. She has until Dec. 23 to make a decision.

Joyce Casey in the Forest Service's Portland office said — not every decision is appealed, and on a controversial project it is not — unusual to get maybe 5 to 10 appeals, although often like minded groups — consolidate their appeal.

A possible appeals record may have been the recent Biscuit — fire timber sale, which received 37, said Casey. As demonstrated by that — decision, the sheer number of appellants does not affect the final decision. —

Local environmentalist Jay Lininger led the workshop. — Handouts, such as an appeal template and outlines to the appeal writing — process, were provided.

Only those who submitted substantive written or verbal — comments during the scoping process or draft environmental impact statement — comment period have standing to file an appeal. In addition, potential — appellants have to demonstrate that it affects their personal interests, — Lininger said.

"You don't have to be an earth worshiping tree hugger — to have standing," you just have to have an aesthetic interest, Lininger — said.

Lininger referred to where the Record of Decision states, — "There would be a loss of recreational value for people who seek out remote — and pristine natural settings — Any spiritual attributes some people associate — with the Middle Fork area spruce grove or similar settings may also be — lost or reduced."

According to federal regulations, the burden-of-proof — falls upon the appellant to demonstrate that the Forest Service failed — to consider substantive comments or violated public policy.

After the Nov. 8 deadline, interested parties such as — the Mt. Ashland Association have 15 days, or until Nov. 23 to comment — on the appeals. Within those same 15 days, Rogue River National Forest — office Supervisor Scott Conroy has to meet with appellants and attempt — to resolve the issue. If no resolution is forthcoming, an appeal reviewing — officer reviews the appeals and submits a written recommendation to Goodman. — The final decision is due by Dec. 23.