Pennsylvania

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PN: Commission’s Recommendations Will Remain Secret

The Patriot News’ Don Gilliland has an interesting scoop on tomorrow’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission meeting. According to his Patriot-News report, the panel will deliberate and vote on its recommendations in public – but the recommendations themselves will remain secret.

UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION (1:40 PM) – As explained in the excerpt below, the public will be able to read the recommendations on Friday, July 22nd. They’ll stay confidential during tomorrow’s meeting,however – even though discussion about them will take place in public. I’ve reached out to Cawley’s spokesman for an explanation of the reasoning behind this move, and will post new information as soon as I get it.

Confused? Here’s what Gilliland wrote:

The public will be able to watch the vote, but will not be able to see what is being voted on.

The recommendations are secret, say commission officials.

Recommendations which receive approval from the full commission will be released to the public a week later, after they are rewritten and presented to the governor.

The ones that don’t pass will remain secret.

“We will not be releasing any of the other recommendations,” Chad Saylor, spokesman for Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, said Tuesday

“From a public access perspective, it’s problematic — especially for something as important as Marcellus Shale,” said Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

A reminder – whether or not the recommendations are secret, I’ll be liveblogging the meeting tomorrow at the StateImpact site.

UPDATE: The Post-Gazette’s Laura Olson tracked Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley down in the Capitol a few minutes ago. According to her tweet, he’s promising “public discussion of recommendations” tomorrow. So even if the wording remains secret, we’ll have an idea of what will be in the final report.

Comments

  • http://eatthebabies.com/ BradyDale

    This is just so weird. And shortsighted. And not very astute at all. What the heck?

    Paul O’Neill, the first Secretary of the Treasury under Bush II, was an interesting guy. Totally a Republican, but he firmly believed that Secrecy was pretty much good for nothing. I have always admired the way he thought about these things, and I think he’s right.

    It’s true, Secrets are dangerous if people find them. But if you just don’t make them a secret in the first place then they stop being dangerous.

    I’m done philosophizing.

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