The California Coastal Commission gave the public a one-week notice in October 2015 that Southern California Edison was proposing to keep waste from the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant on site, just 100 feet from the sea.
But newly filed documents show Commission officials met privately with Edison representatives to discuss that waste storage at least three times in the year leading up to the 2015 decision.
Edison declined to to comment, citing ongoing settlement talks over the possibility of moving the waste to an off-site storage facility.
In a statement, the Coastal Commission said the communications were not unusual and were actually part of the application process. The panel also stated that to allow the general public to attend such informal meetings would make them “unmanageable” in many cases.
The meetings do not violate state open meeting rules. A separate ex-parte meeting in 2013 between Edison officials and the former head of the California Public Utilities Commission led to fines for Edison after it was revealed they worked out a deal for consumers to pay the bulk of the closing costs for San Onofre.