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Xcel fails to reach settlement with enXco on wind-farm lawsuit

Nearly two months of negotiations failed to settle a lawsuit against Xcel Energy over a stalled $400 million North Dakota wind farm, Xcel Energy said Tuesday, March 20. Now Xcel is preparing for a trial, but the wind farm developer, enXco Development Corp., says it's still open to talks.

Nearly two months of negotiations failed to settle a lawsuit against Xcel Energy over a stalled $400 million North Dakota wind farm, Xcel Energy said Tuesday, March 20.

Now Xcel is preparing for a trial, but the wind farm developer, enXco Development Corp., says it's still open to talks.

Xcel and San Diego-based enXco had planned to build a 150-megawatt wind farm named Merricourt in southeastern North Dakota last year until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the project could harm nearby plovers and whooping cranes, both protected species.

Minneapolis-based Xcel pulled out of the project and enXco and Xcel sued one another. EnXco accused Xcel of using the bird issue in an attempt to gain a financial advantage over enXco.

Xcel said its officials could land in jail if the endangered birds were harmed without the proper permits, which enXco failed to get in time.

"Xcel Energy and enXco were not able to reach a settlement on the Merricourt suit. Now, the parties are in the discovery phase of litigation with depositions scheduled for the next several weeks," Xcel spokeswoman Patti Nystuen said Tuesday.

A trial likely will occur at the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Nearly two months of negotiations failed to settle a lawsuit against Xcel Energy over a stalled $400 million North Dakota wind farm, Xcel Energy said Tuesday, March 20.

Now Xcel is preparing for a trial, but the wind farm developer, enXco Development Corp., says it's still open to talks.

Xcel and San Diego-based enXco had planned to build a 150-megawatt wind farm named Merricourt in southeastern North Dakota last year until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the project could harm nearby plovers and whooping cranes, both protected species.

Minneapolis-based Xcel pulled out of the project and enXco and Xcel sued one another. EnXco accused Xcel of using the bird issue in an attempt to gain a financial advantage over enXco.

Xcel said its officials could land in jail if the endangered birds were harmed without the proper permits, which enXco failed to get in time.

"Xcel Energy and enXco were not able to reach a settlement on the Merricourt suit. Now, the parties are in the discovery phase of litigation with depositions scheduled for the next several weeks," Xcel spokeswoman Patti Nystuen said Tuesday.

A trial likely will occur at the end of this year or early next year, Nystuen said.

"We deeply regret to be unsuccessful so far to find a reasonable common ground with Xcel, however we remain open to discussion and are in constant contact," enXco spokeswoman Sandi Briner said.

In a filing on Monday, March 19, Xcel said depositions of witnesses were suspended for almost two months in November and December while both sides were discussing a settlement.

But enXco in February said its lawyers and witnesses would be unavailable for depositions in March, Xcel's filing said.

Xcel said in its filing that there was not enough time to depose 25 to 29 witnesses by a May 1 deadline, so Xcel is asking the court for extensions of the deadline.


Source: http://www.twincities.com/a...

MAR 20 2012
http://www.windaction.org/posts/33466-xcel-fails-to-reach-settlement-with-enxco-on-wind-farm-lawsuit
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