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Keeping it in the Family: Not Always a Good Strategy

January 7, 2010

The Governors of Alabama, Georgia and Florida apparently want to keep the next five tri-state water war meetings and negotiations over a new Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint compact confidential. For those of us in Georgia, this sounds like Gov. Sonny Perdue’s recent closed-door Water Contingency Task Force all over again.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Wilton Rooks, chairman of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Stakeholders, responded in a written statement to Federal District Judge Paul Magnuson: “Making decisions that affect the lives of millions of people in secrecy will not garner the support necessary to sustain the implementation of the decisions.”

And as Sally Bethea of Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper commented on the Governors’ request in the AJC: “We actually keep asking ourselves ‘What is it that has got to be concealed here’” – after a very public 20-plus-year water war?

It’s hard to imagine that the residents and stakeholders from all three states will stand for secrecy – there is simply too much at stake for gag orders. But as Bethea alludes to, perhaps the governors are looking for cover. Any way you slice it, the governors’ desire to keep it in the family is far from democratic when their decisions will impact so many communities and taxpayers.

Read about this latest development here.

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