Editorial: Officials should release info before request

Information regarding the routes of freight trains carrying petroleum belongs in the public record. The Feb. 24 editorial regarding recent derailments noted that neither railroad companies nor state regulators appear eager to release the details. Virginia officials disclosed the pertinent information only after receiving a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The situation underscores the importance of the FOIA. It also suggests that government in its various manifestations fails to embrace the principles the FOIA promotes.

If individuals and agencies truly embraced the FOIA, the press and private citizens would not need to file FOIA requests. Information that must be disclosed ought to be disclosed without going through a FOIA process with the potential to inconvenience all parties. Continue>>>