The U.S. Department of the Interior has continued to demonstrate that it is untrustworthy when it comes to Indian trust funds, says U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth (HCN, 8/4/03: The Latest Bounce). In April, when plaintiffs filed an "emergency notice" reporting that Interior had allowed more than 350 boxes of records to be damaged or destroyed by rodents, water and mold, the agency moved to strike that information from the record, saying the reports "have no legal pertinence." But in September, Judge Lamberth denied the motion, saying Interior "deliberately" failed to report the destruction of records and acted "frivolously" by filing its motion. He adds, "The Court is not endowed with powers of divination that would allow it to interpret phrases such as ‘improper record-keeping procedures,’ to mean actual damage and possible destruction of hundreds of boxes of trust records."
There is still time to comment on how the U.S. Forest Service should shape its Roadless Area Conservation Rule (HCN, 8/16/04: Feds pass roadless headache to states). The agency has extended the public comment period to Nov. 15. To read the rule, or to find out how to comment, visit www.roadless.fs.fed.us.