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Wind Operator Attempts to Get Lawsuit Dismissed from Federal Court

 

While attorneys for NextEra Energy Resources prepare to defend their lawsuit against the city of Hinton next month, they are busy attempting to get another lawsuit dismissed in Oklahoma City federal court.

They’ve submitted a motion to have the lawsuit filed by the Scenic Prairie Preservation Association dismissed. The Association sued NextEra, the largest wind generator in North America, in February attempting to block construction of two wind farms, Minco IV and Minco V in Caddo and Canadian Counties.

The suit accused the wind energy company of not following state law and failing to notify state and local officials as well as nearby residents. It was originally filed in Caddo County District Court, then was moved to U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City.

NextEra contends the court has no jurisdiction in the matter.

“The Corporation Commission is the sole arbiter of whether a wind energy project complies with the Act’s notice requirements, and the Commission has procedures in place to make that determination,” stated attorneys for NextEra. “There is no private right of action to enforce the notice requirements of the Act. Accordingly, the Complaint should be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.”

The Preservation Association was formed in January and claimed the wind company failed to make notifications as required under Senate Bill 808, which was passed in 2015 and requires wind turbines to be at least 1.5 nautical miles or 9,100 feet from a school, hospital or airport.

Its attorneys, the same ones representing the city of Hinton in its lawsuit against NextEra stated, “The issues raised by Scenic Prairie Preservation’s claims are not within the Corporation Commission’s very limited jurisdiction. This court, sitting in diversity, possesses the power and authority to enforce the laws of Oklahoma. It can and should enjoin NextEra from commencing construction in violation of Oklahoma law.”

Federal Judge Joe Heaton has yet to set a hearing date on the motions.

Minco IV and V are meant to be extensions of three previous Minco wind farms located in Caddo, Canadian and Grady counties.