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Publisher To Sell Report Of Commission

March 13, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A non-profit publisher said Thursday it would sell the final report of the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, a document the Interior Department has refused to publish for the moment.

The department said it would take no action against the publisher.

Island Press of Washington and Covelo, Calif., said it had printed 5,000 copies of the report in book form and would distribute it with a suggested retail price of $24.95. Several environmental organizations plan to offer it to members for $19.95, said Christine Godson, business manager.

The department has declined to publish the report during a lawsuit brought by the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise in U.S. District Court in Seattle seeking to void the commission’s work. The center claimed the commission, which no longer exists, violated open meeting laws and requirements of government advisory commissions. It asked that publication be banned, but no such court order was immediately issued.

The commission’s major recommendations were discussed in an illustrated summary report in January. They called for establishment of an endowment for local, state and federal land acquisition and major development of facilities, with the endowment eventually to yield $1 billion a year, and creation of a nationwide network of ″greenways″ for public use along river corridors and other places.

Ms. Godson said Island Press decided before the lawsuit was filed to print the book ″because it fitted our program″ of conservation books.

″There were several copies floating around town. We had one,″ she said.

Some reporters also had copies provided by the commission staff before it went out of business. The department has been making photocopies of the commission’s manuscript available to those who request one under the Freedom of Information Act.

The 420-page Island Press book contains more material than the government version, incorporating extracts from commission hearings, some case studies the commission used and material from counterpart state bodies.

Alan Levitt, spokesman for the Interior Department, said he expected the government printing office to sell the department’s version of something more than 200 pages for $8 to $15.

The department and other agencies are studying the report for a discussion by the Cabinet’s Domestic Policy Council, he said.

″We’re not contemplating any action″ against Island Press, Levitt said.

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