Packed meeting indicates no lack of transparency

OlympiaApril 11, 2014 

I am mystified about how and why The Olympian gave prime placement April 3 to news that the Port of Olympia failed to include as a specific agenda item a presentation on fracking by Commissioner Sue Gunn at the March 24 meeting in Tumwater. And I’m equally mystified about why advisory commission member Clydia Cuykendall cites the omission as lack of transparency.

To me, lack of transparency becomes newsworthy when decision-making processes are not adequately open to public scrutiny. In the case of the March 24 meeting, the public clearly was aware of the issue at hand; the crowd, as has been noted, was standing room only, Gunn’s anticipated presentation clearly being the big draw.

Publishing more detailed agendas would be fine; the port’s custom of doing otherwise does not suggest lack of transparency.

Gunn’s presentation was brief, well-documented and cogent, explaining clearly how fracking damages both the local and global environment. Sue Gunn deserves the thanks of Olympia residents for sharing this information with the public and acknowledging the connection between the handling of imported fracking materials (proppants) at the Port of Olympia and contributing to the worsening of climate change and to local health impacts in areas where fracking takes place.

Proponents of fracking, and apologists for the port’s role in supply fracking materials, have had ample opportunity to state their case, which represents the status quo.

Gunn asks us to consider alternatives.

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