As the Coachella Valley moves forward with construction of a new power plant, the air quality district is moving forward with its plans to offset its air pollution. But the details of that $53 million plan are being kept secret.

The air pollution plan calls for funds to be set aside from the overall construction cost. That money will then be used by the air quality management district to award grants to ideas coming from the community. Those ideas are varied, but so far the AQD has confirmed that the ideas include a four-lane bike and golf cart parkway connecting the cities of Desert Hot Springs and Indo.

The secrecy is being justified as a way to keep the competition for funding equal. If the proposals already submitted are opened to public review, it could compromise the fairness of future entrants should the AQD find it necessary to solicit additional entries. By leaving the process as private as it is now, the district seems to be encouraging all sorts of ideas and limiting the public scrutiny that might otherwise scare off submissions.

From the Press Enterprise:

The public is not being allowed to view proposals to spend $53 million to reduce air pollution in the Coachella Valley or learn who has submitted the pitches.

The lack of transparency has raised concerns among some open-government advocates, who say it is the public’s business and doesn’t merit such secrecy.

Read the full article here.