The ordered release of information related to a drilling company's plans for production in Loyalsock State Forest in northern Pennsylvania has been a long time coming. Too long, as it reportedly turns out.
"PennFuture Staff Attorney Mark Szybist was relatively unenthused about obtaining the 18-month-old plan, calling the document 'stale,'" according to the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.
"'I'm not sure that there's anything at all in it that we didn't already know,' Szybist said. 'I suspect at this point that things have changed.'"
Also, as it turns out, according to the same report, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources considers the plans a bit moot at this point considering Anadarko, the firm at the center of the open records flap, is only one of the companies with a stake there.
Southwestern Energy is cited as the other.
"'We can't have an agreement with just a 50-percent owner — it needs to be with both companies,' (DCNR spokeswoman Christina) Novak said."
So there's another reason why this information seems to not mean much at this point.
Here's something to take away: For good governance and oversight, information releases need to happen quickly, or they can have little value.
And the precedent is set, regardless of whether people think it's right or wrong, so let's at least make sure fights aren't useless the next time around.