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Brewery Presses Demand for Documents on Waste-Energy Plant

January 19, 1986|MARK GLADSTONE | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Miller Brewing Co. has demanded that the state Energy Commission suspend hearings on whether to permit Pacific Waste Management Corp. to build a waste-to-energy plant in Irwindale until documents the brewery repeatedly has sought are made public.

In a legal brief filed with the Energy Commission on Thursday, Miller lawyer Terry O. Kelly contended that Pacific Waste has failed to comply with two earlier commission orders to disclose such information as the impact of the plant on air and water supplies.

Instead, the brief said, relevant documents remain in the hands of Pacific's Canadian parent company, Conversion Industries Inc. The brewery argued that an "unfortunate precedent" would be established if Pacific Waste again is allowed to avoid disclosing the documents through "its foreign holding corporation ruse."

A commission hearing on the request could be held within three weeks.

Steven A. Broiles, a Los Angeles lawyer representing Pacific Waste, sharply disagreed with Miller. In a telephone interview, he said that his clients have turned over 13 file drawers of documents and questioned how much more material the firm should make available.

The dispute over the documents is the latest controversy to embroil the project since last March when the Energy Commission launched the one-year process of deciding whether the plant should be built.

The plant, which would burn 3,000 tons of waste a day, has been proposed for an 85-acre site north of the Foothill Freeway and east of Irwindale Avenue. The brewery is on the south side of the freeway.

Miller has challenged the feasibility of building the plant because of its potentially adverse impact on air quality and ground water supplies. Officials and residents of a number of San Gabriel cities also have voiced opposition to the project.

Garret Shean, the Energy Commission's hearing officer in the case, said that the commission committee reviewing the plant has ordered Pacific Waste to turn over information because Miller has had difficulty obtaining it through normal channels.

Kelly, Miller's lawyer, asserted in an interview that Pacific Waste has shipped relevant documents to Canada. "If they didn't have a Canadian holding company, they wouldn't be able to shield the documents," Kelly said.

Broiles, Pacific Waste's lawyer, scoffed at the assertion that Pacific Waste would establish a Canadian holding company to avoid disclosing relevant material.

He said that the Canadian parent firm balked at providing additional material because there appears to be no end in sight to the requests.

Broiles said the commission's proceedings "can strip us bare of all we have got," but he said the commission has not similarly compelled Miller or other opponents to reveal their internal working documents.

In response, Kelly said that Pacific Waste has the burden to supply the information because it has applied for the permit to build the plant.

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