17
Jul
2004

Protect the Public

In an alarming attack on public access to information, language buried deep in the Senate transportation bill would allow the government to conceal important information from the public on serious environment, health, and public safety issues. This bill is now before Congress; send a message today supporting your right-to-know about hazards in your community.

Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Your Congressperson
Your Senators

Below is the sample letter:

Subject: Protect the Public - Reject Secrecy Provisions in Transportation Bill

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
I urge you to protect my right-to-know about transportation safety by rejecting secrecy provisions buried in the Senate version of the transportation bill. I would prefer no transportation bill this year to one that cuts my right to know about the effects of transportation on public health and the environment, as both Senate and House bills do.

Without public hearings, the Senate bill (S.1072) would grant the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) broad new authority to withhold information it deems to be "sensitive security information."

Section 3029 of the bill allows TSA to stamp as secret information on
any "transportation facilities, infrastructure, or transportation employees" and overrides state or local open records laws. It would also restrict public input on transportation projects.

If implemented, these secrecy provisions are a threat to the public's right-to-know about hazards in their community and sets a dangerous precedent. Without mechanisms to hold TSA accountable, security problems could go uncorrected and cause public harm.

I urge you to drop the secrecy language from the transportation bill, and reject other provisions that would sharply weaken accountability and public information on the effects of transportation on public health and the environment.

Sincerely,
Jay Sweeney

Take Action!

Spread the Word:
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What's At Stake:
This new secrecy language is part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) which shapes the nation's transportation investments. Examples of environmental information that could be stamped secret are:

· Environmental impacts of oil spills
· Whether nuclear waste shipments are routed by local elementary schools
· Withholding air pollution impacts of new roads and limiting public comment on new road projects.
· Criminal records of transportation workers such as drunk or unsafe
driving records for hazardous materials truckers;
· Whether routes for dangerous shipments are transported through heavily populated areas;

Send a message to your senators and representatives today to preserve your right-to-know about transportation hazards in your community.

Campaign Expiration Date:
August 13, 2004


Informant: thehydratwo
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