Articles filed under Legal from Nebraska
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a federal judge's order blocking Nebraska Public Power District from canceling power purchase agreements with four wind farms in the state. The publicly owned utility had argued that Elkhorn Ridge Wind LLC, Laredo Ridge Wind LLC, Broken Bow Wind LLC and Crofton Bluffs Wind LLC had violated the agreements by transferring control of their parent company's ownership interests without their consent.
According to the lawsuit, NPPD was trying to use Global Investment Partners' 2018 acquisition of the wind farms and other assets from NRG Energy, as well as NRG Energy's 2014 acquisition of the assets from their original owner, as the basis for the contract termination, claiming that they constituted a default under terms of the power purchase agreements.
The Denver judge said Fish and Wildlife’s order granting the permit didn’t review possible routes to avoid O’Fallon’s Bluff, despite saying in its final environmental impact statement that running electrical lines over it would have “a long-term, high-intensity indirect (visual, auditory and atmospheric) effect.” Thousands of wagons on the Oregon-California Trail crossed the bluff from 1843 to 1866, cutting deep dips that remain today. It parallels Interstate 80 to the south between Sutherland and Hershey.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Martinez revoked a federal permit that would have allowed the Nebraska Public Power District to kill or severely disturb the endangered American burying beetle as a consequence of building its R-Line project.
A pre-trial hearing concerning a civil lawsuit against Saline County and seven wind farm entities was held Jan. 15 at the Gage County courthouse in Beatrice.
The lawsuit is the second one filed over the project. In July, a Massachusetts woman who owns property near the proposed wind farm filed suit against the county and EDF Renewables over the granting of right of way for the company to run underground electrical cables on her land. Saline County residents also have alleged a number of improprieties in the extension of the conditional use permit, including open-meetings violations and conflicts of interest.
According to court documents, the defendants “have never submitted a valid application for a conditional use permit to construct and operate a wind energy project in Saline County.” Plaintiffs also allege the CUPs that were filed on behalf of the wind project are invalid, as development was supposed to be completed two years following the Board of Commissioners’ approval in 2016.
The group, along with a local landowner, sued the county last month to prevent board members Martin DeNaeyer and Tanya Storer from voting on the application. ...But in vacating his initial temporary injunction, State District Court Judge Mark Kozisek rejected the notion that those familial connections constitute a conflict of interest as defined by state law.
A judge on Monday temporarily blocked two Cherry County Board members from voting on a planned wind energy project in the Sand Hills, siding with opponents who argued that those board members have a financial stake in the project’s outcome.
“All we’re looking for is that this matter be determined by people who don’t have a vested interest in the outcome,” said Jason Bruno, the Omaha attorney representing Preserve the Sandhills.
"This route was picked as the cheapest for NPPD. But it is the most expensive for the health of humans and destructive to our natural habitat," the group said in a news release. The 225-mile high-voltage line will cut through the heart of the Sandhills, from Stapleton north to Thedford and east to near Clearwater.
In the civil suit, the petitioners say officials violated policy and law. They want the U-S District Court to order a review of the permits and take a harder look at the environmental impact, and what would happen to species like the Whooping Crane and the American Burying Beetle.
According to court documents, Kohmetscher lives on an 11-acre plot that is surrounded on three sides by wind turbines from NextEra's Cottonwood Wind Energy Center, a 40-turbine, 89-megawatt farm that began operation in the fall of 2017. Kohmetscher says in the lawsuit that the closest turbine is 1,300 feet from his property line.
Filed on Friday in West Palm Beach federal court, the lawsuit is seeking damages to be determined at trial for hundreds of residents nationwide who live within three miles of a NextEra wind turbine.
The Broken Bow Wind Project in Custer County is one of three wind farms suing to stop Nebraska Public Power District from terminating a power purchase agreement worth tens of millions of dollars a year. Three Nebraska wind farms have filed a lawsuit against Nebraska Public Power District alleging the utility is improperly attempting to cancel power purchase agreements a decade or more before they expire.