A Portland-based consultant who has questioned the high costs of the Pacific Northwest's only nuclear power plant is now engaged in a huge public records battle with its operator, Energy Northwest.
The Tri-City Herald reports that the utility has estimated it could cost $1.5 million to $3 million to comply with McCullough Research's records request about its purchase of nuclear fuel from a financially-troubled nuclear fuel producer located in Kentucky.
Publicly-funded entities, such as Energy Northwest, are required by law to produce records upon request, but the cost of compliance is often a matter of negotiation between the entity that has the records and the person seeking access.
The Herald notes that the penalty for non-compliance can be high.
"Ignoring the request is not an option, the [Energy Northwest] executive board was told. The University of Washington recently was fined about $700,000 for failing to produce public records, said Energy Northwest attorney Robert Dutton," the paper wrote.
"I consider this a harassment move just to get in our way, and guess who ends up paying," Sid Morrison, Energy Northwest executive board chairman and former five-term Congressman told the Herald.