Library filed under Legal from Montana
District Judge Kathy Seeley ruled the commission underpaid Caithness Beaver Creek for electricity it was scheduled to sell to the state’s largest monopoly utility NorthWestern Energy as part of a proposed $500 million wind and battery storage project, the Billings Gazette reported Wednesday.
Oldenburg ruled that both sides could face potential harm, for plaintiffs if the wind farm is built, and for the defendants, if the wind farm isn’t build. “Until the ultimate issues are decided by a trier of fact, the balance of equities does not fall in favor of one side or the other,” Oldenburg wrote in his decision.
Montana District Court Judge Jon A. Oldenburg ruled no construction activity involving the Crazy Mountain wind farm proposed by Pattern Energy can proceed including no alterations to roads until a trial is held to determine if the project will cause irreparable harm to the neighboring property owners. Judge Oldenburg decided that “[u]ntil the ultimate issues are decided by a trier of fact, the balance of equities does not fall in favor of one side or the other." The full order can be accessed at the document link on this page. Below is an excerpt of the court's ruling justifying the injunction and halting construction of the project.
The latest action came Thursday, when the nearby ranches filed a lawsuit against Sweet Grass County, alleging a proposed road use agreement ceded too much control over county roads to Crazy Mountain Wind, LLC, the company behind the project. Hours later, the Sweet Grass County Commission declined to make a decision on the agreement, saying at the advice of their lawyer, they were taking more time to consider the agreement.
Neighbors of a planned wind farm in southwestern Montana are suing to block the project. ...They allege the wind project will threaten wetlands, migratory birds, bald eagles, historic trails, businesses and the health of people living in the vicinity.
SDG&E agreed to help finance the Rim Rock project and purchase the power, but later sued NaturEner USA arguing it had been mislead about the threat to raptors. That prompted NaturEner to file a breach-of-contract counter suit against SG&E. The conditional settlement agreement to end the litigation was filed Feb. 11.
A dispute over a Montana wind farm’s potential to harm nearby nesting eagles and other birds should be heard in California, the Montana Supreme Court said Friday, in an opinion that deals a legal setback to the project’s developers.
SDG&E filed a lawsuit Dec. 19 in California Superior Court seeking to terminate the power purchase and investment contracts alleging NaturEner did not meet avian protections called for in the contracts. Late last month, it filed an amended complaint alleging NaturEner fraudulently concealed that federal wildlife officials recommend an eagle take permit.
SDG&E has said in court documents that the project could still kill, displace or disturb eagles. The utility says NaturEner concealed that possibility until last December, when it turned over documents revealing the birds were at risk.
SDG&E alleges that NaturEner misrepresented the risks of the wind farm to birds in order to secure financing for the project and did not meet conditions set forth in the contract related to avian protection.
“Had SDG&E been aware of the truth, it very likely would not have entered into contracts involving hundreds of millions of dollars,” SDG&E’s suit states. The San Diego utility may be leery of the Montana project’s impacts on golden eagles following its own violations while building another major construction effort.
San Diego Gas and Electric filed a lawsuit Thursday in San Diego Superior Court against Rim Rock wind farm owner NaturEner asking the court to confirm its allegation that the company did not meet contractual requirements related to the preservation of eagles, raptors and other protected bird and bat species. “Unfortunately, the project’s owner, NaturEner, did not meet its contractual requirements, so SDG&E has decided not to make the investment in Rim Rock or to continue purchasing its renewable energy credits.”
NaturEner, which owns and operates three wind farms in Montana, sued a California utility on Friday for breaching contracts to invest in the Rim Rock wind farm. The lawsuit also seeks to prevent the utility from reneging on its contractual promise to buy the renewable energy generated at the facility.