Groups ‘appalled’ with delay in releasing Village at Wolf Creek documents

From The Durango Herald: A district court judge has granted the U.S. Forest Service more time to comply with a court order to release documents about the proposed Village at Wolf Creek.

Environmental groups opposed to the development argue the agency’s request, filed Oct. 27, suggests the Forest Service will do whatever it takes to withhold and delay disclosure.

“Even when faced with a court order, the Forest Service still failed to allocate the necessary resources to get us the records we are legally entitled to,” said Matt Sandler, an attorney for Rocky Mountain Wild, which has been leading efforts against the proposed development.

A Colorado U.S. District Court on Sept. 30 not only ordered the release of thousands of pages of documents, but also admonished the Forest Service for unjustifiably withholding the materials.

Environmental groups requested communications between the Forest Service and other agencies, developers, third-party interests and the public.

Senior Judge Wiley Y. Daniel found that the Forest Service violated the Freedom of Information Act and gave the agency until Oct. 30 to conduct a new, more complete search of documents and communications.

Forest officials then filed a motion for an additional 30 days to comply with the order. Forest Service attorneys argued for more time because of “a large number of additional custodians who were asked to review and search for additional documents, and because of the time-intensive nature of such review.”

The motion underscores “efforts to identify additional custodians” and points out that officials “have searched and located additional potentially responsive documents.

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