Obama to rule on Oregon wind-farm bid

Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012

President Obama will make the final call on whether a Chinese-owned company can build wind farms in the United States near a Navy installation in Oregon, a government lawyer told a federal judge yesterday.

Joel McElvain, a lawyer for the Justice Department, made the comments to Judge Amy Berman Jackson at the U.S. District Court hearing on Ralls Corp.’s lawsuit to block the United States’ rejection of the wind farm project.

Decisions on such matters are rarely left to the president, according to a panel report to Congress. The last time a president was deferred to for approval was in 2006 when President George W. Bush OK’d the merger between Lucent Technologies Inc. and Alcatel SA.

“The president is scheduled to have this in the next 10 days,” McElvain said.

Unless Obama rejects the plan by Sept. 28, Ralls, which is owned by executives of China-based Sany Group Co., will be allowed to install the wind turbines that were manufactured in China, government filings said.

Ralls is requesting a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order that would allow it to continue with the wind farm construction by Sept. 20 in an effort to get the farm in service by Dec. 31 and thereby meet the deadline to obtain $25 million in federal tax incentives, court documents stated (Sara Forden, Reuters, Sept. 19). — HP