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Downed Trees

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The Commander's Action Line is a forum for the Ellsworth community to make suggestions or voice concerns about Ellsworth directly to Col. Mark Weatherington, 28th Bomb Wing commander.

QUESTION
About a year ago, I checked with the Fraud, Waste and Abuse office concerning having access to the downed trees on federal property (across from Loaf n' Jug and golf course). The FWA officer related they would look into the matter. The reply I received amounted to a statement about liability issues should active duty/retirees be allowed access onto the federal property. Different options were discussed where the base could profit from the release of this resource. The one option not involving liability issues was bringing the wood to the outside of the fence where personnel can take what they need. The FWA officer's reply was that it was against certain regulations/AFIs. The last time I checked, there is always someone in the chain of command who CAN make a command decision and rescind, or temporarily suspend the regulation to allow a process to occur. I'd like to hear your take on this, as your predecessor gave a political answer to another submitted concern ... just talk straight. If not for any or all military personnel, at least for the Airmen who could use the firewood to stay warm during the winter.
Col. Mark Weatherington
Col. Mark
Weatherington
RESPONSE
The short answer, or if you prefer the straight answer to your question - no.

Three problems with your suggestion:

1. Natural resources on federal land, such as the downed trees you mentioned, are federal government property and cannot be distributed or disposed of in the way you propose.

2. You already mentioned the liability concerns regarding personnel entering federal property to remove the trees.

3. Additionally, I cannot provide government resources to move the trees to an accessible spot for you or anyone else to pick them up; in fact, I would likely violate federal law if I did so.

Hope this helps clarify the issue.