Groups Challenge CPUC’s Ban on Cameras and Audio Recorders at Long Delayed Nuke Plant Hearings
An already contentious CPUC “investigation” of the broken-down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) escalated Friday, with the Commission attempting to block videotaping of upcoming Evidentiary Hearings in the case (May 13-17), which are scheduled to begin at 9:30 AM Monday, May 13, in a hearing room at the Commission.
In response to a routine courtesy notice of intent to videotape the hearings from videographers Marybeth Brangan and James Heddle, on behalf of Ecological Options Network and Women’s Energy Matters (WEM), Administrative Law Judges Kevin Dudney and Melanie Darling fired back a refusal to allow videotaping, stating, “Consistent with the ALJ Division’s policy for all evidentiary hearings, we will not allow videotaping or audiotaping of these evidentiary hearings.”
In response, Barbara George of Women’s Energy Matters, filed a Motion to Ensure Public Access, invoking California’s opening meetings law, the Bagley Keene Act — Cal. Gov. Code § 11124.1.(a). WEM’s Motion notes that the ALJ policy is not published or posted on the CPUC website, and the Commission has allowed videotaping of evidentiary hearings, and even webcast them in the past, including cases involving Southern California utilities as it is very difficult for the Southern Californians to attend hearings in San Francisco. WEM’s Motion describes So. Cal. Edison’s previous (unsuccessful) attempt to deny its right to videotape a January hearing in the same case.
On Monday, EON and other videographers plan to assert their rights to videotape the hearings. WEM, EON, No Nukes Action and others ask for members of the media and the public to support this effort, to preserve public access and transparency in this very important case.
Contacts: Barbara George, Women’s Energy Matters, 415-755-3147
Marybeth Brangan, Ecological Options Network, 415-868-1900
Steve Zeltzer, No Nukes Action, 415-867-0628