Top Story | Editorial Report

Some, not all, of the people who showed up for the Clinton, N.J., FERC hearing on the PennEast pipeline only to find that they would be giving their testimony in a closed room with no audience except for FERC officials.

Photo by Meg McGuire

FERC's Bait and Switch on
the PennEast pipeline

Public hearings with no public speaking, no public listening

 

As a journalist and a citizen, I'm a big fan of public hearings. They are opportunities for regular folks to talk about an issue that concerns them and to get educated on what others are saying. Obviously, regular folks often don't know as much about an issue as the agency holding the hearings. Sometimes, the agency seems to merely tolerate the public comment. Transparency, like democracy, is a messy and time-consuming business. After all, the people up at the high table are often paid to be informed about the issue. On the other hand, these moms and pops may have to take time off work (as a teacher, a plumber, a Walmart cashier) to get involved and use what free time they have to travel to a public hearing ...

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This picture is a digital image created by Leslie-Jean Thornton — as are the others in the gallery — based on a photo taken on the Delaware Bay shore, looking north away from the bay toward a flat landscape in the state hunting-and-fishing grounds in Newport, N.J. To see the progression, click on the leftmost thumbnail.

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