Documents suggest Forest Service concealed and deleted information, allowed undue influence

By Jonathan Romeo, The Durango Herald
January 17, 2016

Environmental groups say they have uncovered damning evidence that the National Forest Service was in collusion with Texas billionaire B.J. “Red” McCombs in his effort to build the Village at Wolf Creek and actively tried to cover it up.

In tens of thousands of documents released by a federal court order in October and obtained by The Durango Herald this week, the groups say they found evidence that Forest Service personnel concealed or destroyed information related to the development proposal, allowed McCombs to influence environmental analyses and tried to prevent public scrutiny of documents relevant to decision-making.

“None of us know what happened because of these active efforts to conceal the trail,” said Dan Olson, executive director of Durango-based San Juan Citizens Alliance, part of the Friends of Wolf Creek coalition.

“They could be sanctioned,” said Debra D’Agostino, a Washington, D.C.-based Freedom of Information Act lawyer who reviewed some of the documents. “It’s really an undeveloped issue given that it seems government officials come up with endless new tactics to skirt around FOIA requests. The question is, can anything be done about it, and does anybody care?”

Read the full article at The Durango Herald.

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