Too much public participation
BLM in Northern Nevada Sends Agent
To Investigate Eureka County Officials
by Steve Miller
copyright (c) 1997, Electric Nevada
|Bureau of Land Management administrators in northern Nevada last year, irate at some Eureka County officials, assigned a BLM "special agent" to investigate them for felony mail fraud, Electric Nevada has learned.|
the BLM bureaucrats' ire was a reported deluge of
requests for public information on grazing allotments.
Those requests precipitated "a tremendous
administrative work load on our range staff,"
according to one BLM staffer.
Most of the requests -- estimates of their number range as high as 400 and as low as 150 -- came into BLM offices in Elko and Battle Mountain in a form letter request. Originally prepared by members of the Eureka County Public Land Use Advisory Council and Eureka County Resource Manager John Balliette, the letter was distributed around Eureka at a series of public meetings in the fall of 1995, following the promulgation of the Clinton Administration's "Rangeland Reform" regulations.
The letter had two versions, one for each of the two BLM district offices that manage grazing in Eureka County: Battle Mountain and Elko. Both versions asked that the person signing it be listed as an "interested public" who wished "to be involved in the decision making processes on grazing allotments in Eureka County."
"Interested public" had been a change inserted into BLM regulations just two
months earlier by U.S.
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, as part of what the
Clinton Administration called "Rangeland Reform
resources division, Ray Lister, officially advised BLM
Special Agent Frank Castrogiovanni that "some"
Eureka County individuals "may" have submitted
falsely signed form letters.
documents upon which it
evidently was based. Large sections of a two-page
memorandum written by Battle Mountain range specialist
Spaulding and addressed to both that office's acting
associate director for renewable resources, Jeff Weeks,
and Castrogiovanni, were attributed in the agent's
report, not to Spaulding but to Weeks.
from Spaulding about creating "a tremendous
administrative work load" for the BLM offices.
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