Friday, December 13, 2013

County ups ante to get early input with federal agencies

After years of verbal appeals and a systematic letter-writing campaign, the Okanogan County commissioners have ratcheted up efforts to encourage federal agency managers to coordinate their planning and decision-making with the county government. The commissioners adopted a resolution at the end of October that dedicates staff time and resources to implement a strategy to achieve their coordination goals and “[bring] the federal agency decisions to a greater level of consistency with the plans and policies of Okanogan County.” While the details of the strategy have not been developed, it could include litigation to compel federal agencies to involve the county from the earliest planning stages, according to Okanogan County Commissioner Jim DeTro. The resolution establishes a partnership with attorney Fred Kelly Grant, noting that “Okanogan County officials and staff have relied heavily on the training and guidance provided by Fred Kelly Grant to assist them in their interactions with federal agencies.” Grant is an attorney who has pursued the coordination issue on a national level, taking cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to Okanogan County Commissioner Ray Campbell, who said Grant had offered to help Okanogan County and the three other northern-tier counties take on the coordination issue. “If necessary, we will be prepared to litigate to take the coordination process further,” said Campbell...more

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