TUCSON -- Bush Administration Forest Service officials, responding to aggression and money from Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), are pushing full speed ahead on development and paving of Sabino Canyon without required public comment or environmental review.
Larry Raley of the Coronado National Forest confirmed this today with me on the phone.
Last summer a big flood roared down the canyon, removing much of the old 4 mile paved road up the canyon and restoring natural values.
At that time Forest Service officials were considering allowing Sabino Canyon to remain mostly natural, but progressive thinking stopped with the development push from Kyl and others.
Concerned agency staff told Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) their concerns about the political money rush to construction over conservation.
PEER filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with the Forest Service seeking information on Sabino Canyon's future, and how the agency made up its mind to pave, blast, bulldoze and develop without public comment, environmental review, or consideration of other alternatives.
Sabino Canyon is a special and fragile place of local and national significance. Conservationists support access, not excess.
The public-interest demands a fair and legal transparent public process, and a careful science-based full evaluation of all alternatives for the public to consider and comment on, not a political rush to pave and over-develop Sabino Canyon.
The Tucson Citizen said today in an editorial: "...we implore federal and local officials to respect Mother Nature's mandate and let Sabino Canyon stay primarily in its new fashion. Hundreds of residents have asked the U.S. Forest Service to leave the canyon wild. Sabino Canyon today stands as a scientific laboratory, a place where nature's ways and means can be scrutinized. Let us celebrate these changes by letting them be."