By: Jimbo Buickerood, Pagosa Daily Post
January 19, 2016
After waiting a year and a half for documents relating to a 2015 Forest Service decision that will enable development of the controversial “Village at Wolf Creek,” the Friends of Wolf Creek coalition has discovered evidence that the Forest Service has been concealing and destroying records and being improperly influenced by the would-be developer, Texas billionaire Red McCombs.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is designed to give the public access to documentation such as emails, reports, and phone records associated with the decisions officials make on the public’s behalf. When the Forest Service failed to comply with two FOIA requests in 2014, coalition member Rocky Mountain Wild took the issue to court to gain access to the documents.
Examination of the 69,701 pages released to date is beginning to finally shed light on the unlawful practices that resulted in the Forest Service approving a critical land exchange with the developer.
The Forest Service actively concealed and destroyed public information. Forest Service communications confirm that employees intentionally destroyed and concealed documents from FOIA requests. Practices included deleting emails, sending a document “hardcopy so it would not be subject to FOIA,” and cc’ing attorneys so that documents would “remain attorney-client privilege and not subject to FOIA.”
Read the full article at Pagosa Daily Post.