The NPS must determine that the gathering will have no significant impact nor violate any other applicable laws before any approval can be effective.
The request for an approval requires a description of the tribe’s traditional and historical ties to the park area, an explanation of the traditional purposes of the proposed gathering and removal activity, and a description of the intended purpose of the gathering and removal activity.
FNS acknowledged that its interim final rule, as written, would cause an undue hardship on these facilities, and thus in February of this year it chose to issue a final rule which abandoned the substantive changes contained in the interim rule.
The agency plans to revisit these issues by working with state agencies and stakeholders to conduct a holistic review of its policies.
Their essays appear below, in alphabetical order by each author’s last name.
We extend to Mary and Asal our sincerest congratulations—as we also congratulate and thank all the students whose excellent essays we read.worked with University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Sophia Lee to host an essay competition for students enrolled in her Administrative Law course.Each student in her class researched a federal rulemaking or proposal and then wrote an essay about it.We especially thank and applaud Professor Lee for her innovative and insightful teaching of Administrative Law.* * *The Importance of Public Comments in Agency Rulemaking Decisions Mary Felder How do federal agencies balance state efficiency concerns with providing benefits for vulnerable citizens?After advocates for low-income Americans pointed out deficiencies in the federal program that provides food support to those in need of assistance, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) attempted to restructure its benefits program to improve access to beneficiaries with disabilities or drug addiction who are living in treatment centers.In recognition of the significant historical, cultural, and spiritual connections between tribes and park lands, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a final rule allowing federally-recognized tribes to apply for approval to gather and remove plants used for traditional purposes.The NPS’s effort at continuing historical religious practices may undermine their sacredness, however, as the documentation of tribal practices needed to secure an approval is inconsistent with tribal oral traditions and secrecy around spiritual sites.The rule authorizes any of the approximately 433 federally-recognized Native American tribes living near national parks to request approval from the park superintendent for designated tribal members to collect plants or plant parts.An approved request is followed by further negotiations and an assessment of the environmental impact of the proposed gathering.Currently, SNAP gives recipients a debit card that can be used to buy food.SNAP benefits have also been available to individuals living in drug and alcohol treatment centers and group living arrangements since a major overhaul to food stamps in 1974.