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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey was said to dismiss the overwhelmingly negative public opinion of Bush's plan to lift the roadless rule applied to our nation's forest areas (“Bush ends forest development ban,” Tribune, May 6).

His reasoning for negating 95 percent of public input on this topic is that it was expressed through the medium of form response letters. Did he think it was spam? In an age where information and the people's awareness of critical issues frequently takes place through e-mail alerts, the idea that the only valid public comment must come in the form of a phone call or telegram is ridiculous.

Would Mr. Rey suggest that petitions are only valid if each signatory rewrites the comments at the top of the page? Perhaps, as a former timber industry lobbyist, Mr. Rey is proposing that each of the corporations he represented must be physically present at all those free lunches for congressmen and senators in order for their positions to be voiced. Or maybe Mr. Rey would take pleasure in his staff opening up the 1.8 million envelopes that would hold those comments he just dismissed.

He is a government employee and should to pay attention to those who are petitioning the government, no matter what the medium.

David Firmage

Salt Lake City

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