Lawyers challenge Colorado Springs Utilities’ denial of open-records requests

From The Gazette (Colorado Springs):  Colorado Springs Utilities, a public entity owned by its ratepayers, has routinely denied document requests filed under the Colorado Open Records Act.

The reports sought through CORA pertain to air quality in light of emissions from the coal-burning Martin Drake Power Plant. The records withheld fall under the act’s exception for “trade secrets, privileged information, and confidential commercial, financial, geological or geophysical data,” said Rick Griffith, of the City Attorney’s Office.

That interpretation of the law is hotly disputed, however.

I am curious how Mr. Griffith can assert that technical analyses about air quality in Colorado Springs conducted by professional engineers that CSU has hired and paid using ratepayer-owner funds can be considered off-limits for review,” said Leslie Weise, a Monument attorney.

Denver attorney Steven D. Zansberg, president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, seconded that notion.

“Emission reports showing sulfur dioxide emissions being produced by Drake Power Plant are not a privileged report,” said Zansberg, who represents The Gazette in First Amendment cases.

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