Tellico Appeals Update 12_22_2009
As recently reported to you, we are progressing through the appeals process with the Forest Service on the final decision for the Tellico trails. To date, we are aware of two additional appeals that have been filed in addition to the joint appeal filed by the SFWDA, BRC, and UFWDA. The two additional appeals were filed independently by Billy Harton, and an appeal was filed jointly by Flint Holbrook and Gene McCall.
The SFWDA, BRC, UFWDA appeal can be seen in the post above.
The next step in the administrative process is that each appeal goes through what is called “informal disposition,” in which a designated employee of the Forest service offers to meet with the people who filed the appeal to attempt to resolve/dispose of the appeal. At this point, each of the appellants has either gone through the “informal disposition” stage or is in the process of doing so. We will keep you informed as to whether or not any significant decisions or progress is made during the discussions.
If the specific appeal points cannot be disposed of in this fashion, then it goes to an appeals review officer designated by the FS to review and recommend the appropriate action to the FS official responsible for deciding the appeal (also designated by the FS.) Based on the appeals closing date, the FS has 45 days for the appeals deciding officer to make a final determination. That final determination could include everything from upholding the original decision to any number of options for remanding the decision or decision points.
Beyond that and depending on what is decided in the appeals process, we will keep you informed on what our next steps will be. The close of the appeals process in mid-January marks the end of the steps that can be taken administratively to deal with this adverse decision to close the Tellico trails.
Dealing with the administrative side of the NEPA process is arduous, but necessary. Trust us when we say this is frustrating and we appreciate the ongoing support of our efforts.