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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sanity 1, Secrecy 0

Calmer, more rational heads have prevailed in an access dispute I have been following in Louisville:

From FOI warrior and erstwhile environmental reporter James Bruggers comes the news:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has posted maps on its Web site showing how people who live downstream from the Wolf Creek Dam would be affected by flooding in the event of a breach.

As recently as last month, corps officials refused to make electronic versions of the maps public, citing terrorism fears, after initially saying they would do so.

Corps spokesman Bill Peoples said yesterday that the agency, after a thorough review, decided to make an exception to its policy of not allowing widespread distribution of the maps because the dam is considered a high risk for failure.

"We look at this as a special circumstance," he said. "It's always a balancing act between the security concerns we have as an agency … and what the public needs to know.

"We still have security concerns."

The corps turned down The Courier-Journal's request to obtain electronic versions of the maps in February, citing two exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act....

Now, despite the contention of one source in the story that the media has blown (OK, so his word was "blowed"...) the story out of porportion, wouldn't you generally want to know more, more -- not less -- about a dam upriver from you that is earthen, old and leaky?


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