Friends of the River, the Environmental Water Caucus and Restore the Delta have sent a demand letter to the state and federal agencies demanding that they immediately start posting on the website all the comment letters received on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The groups allege that the Brown Administration is hiding critical comments from the public by not posting the comments; furthermore, they allege the state is requiring “private” conversations with critics at the public meetings currently taking place.
“In an open society such as ours, this type of Internet suppression is the antithesis of public discourse. The government would not be suppressing the speech of project opponents and hiding it from the public on its website if the government actually believed its own claims about the benefits of the project,” said Bob Wright with Friends of the River in a media statement.
“For the BDCP agencies to stop posting public comments now (whether positive or negative), effectively ends what little transparency remained in the BDCP process. Now it is even clearer than before that powerful interests (not the public) will decide the important issues behind closed doors and the public will only see what the BDCP proponents want it to see,” said Nick di Croce, co-chair of the Environmental Water Caucus. “The only thing posted on the BDCP website will now be whatever the BDCP proponents decide best promotes their vision for the future of the Delta.”
“The so-called public meetings on the EIR/EIS are no more than workstations where people can ask questions and provide comments to court reporters where no one can hear anyone else’s concerns,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “Now, with no public comments being posted on the website, the proponent agencies completely control the flow of information, contrary to basic democratic principles.”