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Coastal Commission wants $6,500 from San Onofre critics

Union Tribune (2016-11-29) Rob Nikolewski

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Earlier this month, a superior court judge allowed a lawsuit aimed at reversing a decision by the California Coastal Commission granting a permit to store spent nuclear waste at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to go forward.

On Monday, the attorneys who brought the suit received an email from the state, demanding they pay $6,500 in fees now that the case is proceeding.

“Petitioners are responsible for the cost of the administrative record,” deputy attorney general Hayley Peterson said in a two-page letter on behalf of the Coastal Commission. In addition, the fee has to be paid within seven days.

One of the attorneys for the group that brought the suit cried foul.

“We provided the record necessary,” said Michael Aguirre, a San Diego attorney for Citizens Oversight, an advocacy group that has been a harsh critic of the Coastal Commission and Southern California Edison, the operators of the plant. “To try to win by making us spend money we don’t have, that’s no way to win the case.”

Officials with the Coastal Commission said the bill is simply standard procedure.

“Anyone seeking to challenge a commission action is required to pay for preparing the administrative record,” said Noaki Schwartz, commission public information officer.

In the AG’s letter, the Coastal Commission said it sent Aguirre’s law firm an estimate back in July, explaining the case’s emails and correspondence had to be sorted chronologically and indexed individually in order to provide an adequate record.

The lawsuit was filed in reaction to a vote by the Coastal Commission in October 2015, allowing Southern California Edison to proceed with plans to store some 3.6 million pounds of spent fuel in dry casks at the plant’s site hugging the Pacific Ocean.

The commission and Edison wanted the case thrown out, saying Aguirre had missed a filing deadline but on Nov. 9, Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes allowed the lawsuit to move forward because “the stakes for the environment are so high.”

The waste is located within 50 miles of 8.4 million residents.

The case is scheduled to start March 30, with Hayes presiding.

This story has been updated to include response from the California Coastal Commission.


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Title Coastal Commission wants $6,500 from San Onofre critics
Publisher Union Tribune
Author Rob Nikolewski
Pub Date 2016-11-29
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Keywords Stop Nuke Dump
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Topic revision: r1 - 23 Mar 2017, RaymondLutz
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