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Coalition Calls for Extension of Comment Period


    Last week computer problems forced the National Park Service to extend the period for people to comment on revisions proposed to the agency's Management Policies. Now the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees wants the agency to give the public more time to comment on the proposed changes.
    In noting that the Park Service's email system failed at least four times during the recent comment period, the coalition believes it would only be fair to give the public two more weeks to comment.
    "This whole process has been a comedy of errors, including the inability of NPS to keep the official comment period open prior to its closing," says Bill Wade, the chairman of the coalition's executive council. "People trying to submit comments received a message from the NPS web site that it was 'overloaded' or 'under maintenance.' This is particularly troubling given that the NPS told the public that the web site was the 'preferred way to comment on the policies.'
    "We would like to see NPS reopen the comment for at least two full weeks,  and this time actually make sure the public knows about the extension."
    That last comment stemmed from the agency's decision to make a brief mention on its web site that it was extending the period last week.

    Rick Smith, a coalition member whose lengthy NPS career included a stint as an associate regional director, says that when the coalition notified the NPS that people were having trouble submitted comments electronically, it was told that the system has been "spammed or blitzed by people making comments."
    "This is indicative of the cynical attitude that the NPS seems to have about public comment periods," says Smith. "Members of the public who are trying to respond to an NPS invitation to comment on the revised policies are considered spammers or blitzers. Such an attitude does little to inspire confidence in the willingness of the NPS to seriously consider the comments that it receives."


It appears that more than 75,000 members of the public took the time and energy to comment by snail mail or by electronic means. We can only hope that the NPS will eventually divulge the number that actually reached their inbox.

I contacted the NPS tey refered me to these reports. If you look at the Public scoping comments for winter use plans dated Dec 6,05, you will see that there were atotal of 33,244 commentors for the last request for comments.of those comments 30,657 were form letters. 2552 were non form letters 35 were master form letters.The boggest percentage came fro Calif.6,624 the next greatest amount came from NY, eight other states had over 1,000 fifteen states had more responses than Montana. Montana tied with Vermont with 725 and Wyo.had 214. It is easier to count the responses sent by US Mail It was less than 2,000. And it was noted in the report that some letters that were sent by US mail were also sent by e mail and may have been counted twice. 10,879 came in one form letter on the web one other form letter had 4573 also sent on the web one more had 3,239 sent on the web.The list of web generated for letters under 3,000 gose like this Form letter ID# 28372 had 2,573 sent by web ID#70976 had 1,944 sent by web all of the form letters have an ID# and the text along with posted in the report so you can see what was said. It is true that web masters can set up a computer to send email automatically. It would be a great way to inundate someone with more e-mail than a server can handle. If this is what is happening it should be considered a crime in my opinion.

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