The San Diego law firm of Aguirre and Severson on Friday (July 31) filed a lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, charging that it has suppressed evidence about the failure of the San Onofre nuclear plant on September 8, 2011, during the largest blackout in California history.
The commission is supposed to ensure electricity reliability across state lines. Mike Aguirre of the law firm has been trying since March to get emails between the commission and Southern California Edison, majority owner of the now-shuttered nuclear plant. The commission says it can withhold hundreds of documents because of legal exemptions to the firm's Freedom of Information Act requests. Aguirre has gone to court to force release of documents.
Today (August 3) the firm released part of a document that it has in its possession. An Edison official on September 12, 2011, was told to provide blackout-related documents to the commission. Four days later, the executive replied in a letter to the commission, "Certain electronic documents related to the outages, particularly electronic mail, may have been deleted in the ordinary course of business prior to the receipt of your September 12 letter."
Says Maria Severson of the firm, "Edison destroyed evidence about its complicity within days after the blackout with the full knowledge of [the commission]. Today's evidence shows that [the commission] did nothing to stop them." Severson wonders if the proof of what caused the blackout may ever come out — particularly San Onofre's role.