Behind Closed Doors
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Development Center completed their Evaluation of Shore Erosion Downdrift of Mattituck Inlet, New York; Section 111 Study on April 22, 2005. This study was clearly marked "Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited." This document was forwarded to the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Our organization requested a copy through the DEC and we were met with hesitation. We invoked the Freedom of Information Law and obtained a copy.
Our association, through our elected officials, had requested the initiation of this study. After review of this document we found it to be complete, validating what has been observed empirical through the years. The solution recommended, though not what we envisioned, was acceptable. The study's recommendations will go a long way in correcting a hundred years of sand deprivation and obstruction of navigation caused by the Federal Navigation Project at Mattituck Inlet.
We have been actively attending, and been part of, every local meeting. Also at these meetings were our elected officials or their representatives from federal, state, and local government. This public involvement has lasted well over 10 years.
The Army Corps has now decided that the public is no longer welcome to participate in the upcoming meeting scheduled for June 13 (time and location undisclosed). This time the public is not to be included in the dialogue. A further disturbing aspect is that the ACOE has convinced the DEC that this is the way to proceed. To his credit, our Supervisor Scott Russell, has requested that the public, as always, be present at this June 13 meeting. This request has been denied.
The Army Corps and DEC do not even want our elected officials to send representatives to this meeting. We keep hearing from these agencies that it is not the time to bring them up to date. When will it be time? AND THEY DEFINITELY DON'T WANT THE PRESS!
Why, as final decisions are about to be made, is the public being kept in the dark? Why, when it's time to act, do they go behind closed doors?
June 06, 2006