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San Diego Attorney Blasts State Commission President For Deleting Emails

A San Diego attorney is blasting state regulators for not being forthcoming with email communications related to the shut down of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Photo credit: kelly_bell_c / Flickr

An email is shown on a Blackberry smart phone.

Maria Severson said California Public Utilities Commission's new president, Michael Picker, is deleting emails related to San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Lawyer Maria Severson said Monday she was disappointed to learn last week that new California Public Utility Commission President Mike Picker has been deleting emails from his business account if those messages are older than 90 days.

Severson said that is hardly the kind of transparency she was expecting when Picker took over the helm of the state panel. She wants access to those emails.

"I think that the governor should support an immediate call for a forensic investigation into why Picker only has emails for 90 days and to recapture those emails that he says he's deleted," Severson said.

It turns out the investigation won't be needed.

Responding to a request by KPBS on Monday, commission officials said all emails are kept on servers. The commission's spokeswoman, Terrie Prosper, said it is impossible for any employees to delete permanently their own email.

"Although President Picker may not be able to personally access his email past 90 days in order to avoid an email build-up that would shut down his email box, our IT team can access CPUC email as far back as mid-2010," Prosper said in a statement.

But Severson is still waiting for commission documents requested a year ago under the California Public Records Act.

She and San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre are trying to collect information linked to the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. They are not happy that ratepayers are paying about $3.3 billion for the premature closure of the nuclear facility.

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