Today’s News: Sen. Boxer slams San Onofre operator; Santa Barbara fire raging; State deer losing their hair

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Smoking gun? Senator Barbara Boxer wants the Justice Department to investigate the operator of the San Onofre nuclear power plant for intentionally misleading federal regulators to avoid a “long and costly review” of the plant.

San Onofre hasn’t produced any electricity since January of 2012. That’s when a small radiation leak led to the discovery of heavy wear on tubes carrying radioactive water in the plants new steam generators. Boxer has uncovered an internal letter from 2004 that she says leads her to believe that Southern California Edison deceived the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about design changes to the generators. The letter was written to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which built the generators.

Edison says the Boxer is misreading the letter. The company says it was written as part of an effort to ensure that flaws were not inadvertently introduced into the generator design at the plant between L.A. and San Diego.

Edison is trying to get federal permission to restart one of San Onofre’s two generators and run it at reduced power. The shutdown has cost the company more than $500 million so far. AP

White Fire. It was an unsettling end to the Memorial Day weekend for thousands of campers and residents north of Santa Barbara. They were forced to flee a wildfire that’s now burned at least 1,200 acres and is only 10 percent contained. By late last night, the fire had shifted toward mostly unpopulated areas and many of those residents were allowed to return home. But dozens of structures are still threatened and firefighters will have to contend with gusting winds today – the National Service has issued a high wind warning for Santa Barbara County through tomorrow morning. KTLA

Bullet train. The company picked to build the first phase of California’s high-speed rail project continues to face scrutiny. Shovels are expected to hit the dirt in July on a 29-mile stretch of track between Madera and Fresno, but some officials are questioning why Tutor Petrini Corp. was selected for the job. Tutor won the competition by submitting the lowest bid. But rail officials ranked its safety plan and design quality at the bottom of the bids it received for the project. That’s prompted a state Senate committee and the state auditor to look into the bidding process. And California Congressman and bullet train critic Jeff Denham will open a hearing today in Madera to demand answers from rail officials. L.A. Times

Medical marijuana. A pair of bills working their way through the state Legislature aim to bring some clarity to the state’s muddy medical marijuana picture. But the bills – both from Democrats – are drawing opposition from Republicans and law enforcement officials. One of the bills would establish a Division of Medical Marijuana within the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The new division would set standards for growing and selling medical pot. The other would give dispensaries that follow state guidelines immunity from prosecution for selling or possessing marijuana. L.A. Daily News

Stadium beating. Lawyers for former Dodger owner Frank McCourt will be in court today seeking a delay in a civil lawsuit brought by the family of Giants fan severely beaten in the stadium parking lot. Bryan Stow suffered permanent brain injuries when he was jumped after attending Opening Day two years ago. The civil trial is scheduled to begin in August. McCourt’s attorneys say it would be unfair to their side to begin without reviewing documents from the criminal trial. But it’s unclear when that trial will begin. The two men charged with beating Stow are jailed while the case works its way through the system. KCBS

Deer distress. State wildlife officials say an invasion of aggressive lice is causing deer across California to go bald and killing some of the animals. Researchers have been collecting hair and blood samples from deer and elk with symptoms ranging from a scruffy-looking coat to almost complete baldness. They say the hair loss is linked to an invasive species of lice that normally feeds on deer native to Europe and Asia. Parasites spread by the lice appear to be responsible for a spike in deer deaths. And wildlife officials say predators are having an easier time hunting deer because of their poor health. AP