Monday, January 22, 2007

Transperancy -- Commonwealth edition

I'll have something soon about transperancy in the city processes, but I was stunned by the Department of Environmental Affair's response to my request for a copy of comments on the Chestnut Hill Square Final Environmental Impact Report. If I want the comments, and there were 81 comments submitted by my count from the Certificate of the Secretary of Environmental Affairs on the Final Environmental Impact Report, I have to go downtown and copy the comments at a dime a page.

When I asked if I could get copies of those submitted electronically, I was told that they were already printed and deleted. I would have to copy those, too.


There is simply no excuse, in 2007, that all documents submitted to the commonwealth for approval of a several hundred million dollar project are not available online. None.

But a process that takes easily shared electronic files and throws them away is unforgiveable. (I am not moved by the suggestion that it would be a distortion to provide only a segment of the comments. I'm sure that if I decide to go to the MEPA offices, no one is going to force me to copy all the documents or none.)

If you submitted your comments electronically, please forward them to me and I'll put them on the wiki.

According to Deerin Babb-Brott, MEPA Director, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, there are requests for the next two fiscal years to upgrade the systems to manage documents electronically. As they say, contact your local representatives.

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