Let's clear the air
Whether the Corbett administration's weak anti-smog plan is adequate to clear Pennsylvania's air is a matter of scientific and political debate. The state Office of Open Records, on the other hand, has taken a significant step to clear the air about how the administration reached its policy decision.
Last week the OOR overturned the Office of the Governor's rejection of most of a records request from the Sierra Club. The environmental organization sought all communications between the governor's office and other entities from which it sought input on the policy. That list could include anything from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to specific companies or industry associations that oppose rigorous environmental regulation.
The governor's office interpreted the records request far too narrowly, inherently limiting the range of records it agreed to disclose. The OOR prescribed a much more expansive list of officials whose records are subject to disclosure, including Gov. Tom Corbett.
That's a sound ruling. There is no reason for the public not to know how the administration arrives at policy decisions.
The OOR also expanded on its sound record of finding that publicly paid lawyers work for the public when they represent government agencies. It rejected the governor's office's argument that some of the records were shielded by lawyer-client privilege.
Rather than appealing, the governor's office should produce the records as directed by the OOR.