State hides details on decision to accept more contamination in drinking water

The decision by the Dunleavy administration to allow higher levels of contamination in drinking water went straight to the office of Tuckerman Babcock, the governor’s chief of staff.

That is one of the few things made clear in documents released by the Dunleavy administration in response to a public records request I made a month ago. Most of the documents have been censored so heavily that they are meaningless.

Earlier this year Dunleavy, Babcock and Co. rejected stricter standards accepted by the Department of Environmental Conservation, claiming that higher pollution levels are acceptable because the federal Environmental Protection Agency under President Trump has yet to act.

Several states are moving ahead on their own because of the go-slow approach from Washington, D.C., while Alaska stands out as the only one to enact stricter rules and then have a change of heart and approve higher contamination levels.

State scientists working for DEC and the state health department opposed the decision, but the Dunleavy administration has not been forthcoming with those details.

Almost everything about the decision is being withheld from the public, with Dunleavy claiming “executive communications privilege” as a justification for secrecy. The release of emails that are empty except for the salutations and closings makes a mockery of the public process.