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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-02-2002, 02:26 PM
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Litigation help needed

SWFWDA's suit has just taken another, expensive, turn through the courts. We have a good chunk of cash left but at our current burn rate it won't quite make it through the new proceedings so I'd like to ask again for y'alls generous help. Our suit is 100% donation funded, no industry, no grants, no charitable trust funding. It's been through dedicated small businesses like Predator 4x4 in Colorado Springs, clubs like those in Carolina and Minnesota and within SWFWDA, and by individuals who want to help maintain access they may never enjoy themselves.

So, I'm down on old creaky knees asking for help again and saying thanks to those who have helped in the past.

Donations can be sent to:
c/o Jerry Ward, Treasurer
3553 Appaloosa Dr.
Sunland Park, NM 88063

or to our NEW Paypal account, the "SWFWDA Land Action Fund" I guess it has to be done by email address instead of account name, the email is [email protected]

This suit has significant precedence setting value with respect to RS2477 considerations and land use within WSAs as well as BLM procedures and corruption. That's why it's taken longer, cost more and interested "Earthjustice" and the wilderness society, both of whom are preventing BLM from settling with us as they would prefer.

We don't have a web page regarding the suit per se, maybe we should, I don't know, since it's still in the courts it's hard to know what to say and when. In essence the BLM closed down an area to motorized use after nearly 50 years of use. The party line was excessive resource impacts as verified by aerial photography, documents indicate that the photos used by BLM were "enhanced" and that raw footage evaluation by NMSU did not agree. Further, personal photos taken in the 50s supported the NMSU evaluation. Other documents obtained by FOIA indicated BLM staff, the same individual who claimed resource damage and pushed for closure, voiced, in writting, a concern over the loss of political capital with the NM Wilderness alliance. Taken in sum it became clear that NMWA was driving the closure and that BLM would not consider alternatives without a court order. Remember, Bruce Babbitt, then sec of DOI issued orders to BLM not to consider any RS2477 assertions with a court order to do so. So for us to even assert under RS2477, which NM law allows and clearly states that rights of way do not have to be machine made nor maintained, we have to go to court and have a judge order BLM to obey the law. This has been complicated when the wilderness society intervened on behalf of BLM and retained earthjustice as council, now BLM can't settle and it has to go to full trial, hence more money. The value goes beyond the opportunities in the Robledo mountains though, at the core is a fundemental question on how BLM does business vis-a-vis RS2477 routes. The fallout from a favorable decision could lead to a major revisitation of all RMP closures over the last several years, potentially hundreds of miles of illegal (in our mind) road closures being undone. The decision could also lead to similar impacts in FS closures. WE do know that we are right, and we do expect appeals from the antis now that they understand the potential precedence, but first we have to prevail in open court. To do that we need help.

Thanks for the help y'all, once Wolf's Run abd The Guardian are reopened there will be a big run planned. (4wd and suv mag about 98 or so to see these two runs, Mark Werkmeister articles most likely)

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