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NextEra Energy Loses a 2nd Round in Wind Farm Battle at Hinton

 

Shot down again—-the largest wind development company in the U.S. as it seeks to expand wind farm operations in western Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton has ruled against NextEra Energy’s efforts to dismiss a ruling earlier this year against the company as it continues a fight with the City of Hinton over development of two western Oklahoma wind farms.

NextEra, developer of Minco IV and Minco Wind V wind farms challenged Judge Heaton’s order to dismiss its lawsuit. The judge ruled there was a lack of jurisdiction so NextEra filed a challenge in May.

The city of Hinton and the group called Scenic Prairie Preservation Association originally filed suit claiming NextEra had failed to comply with the notice and public information requirements of the Oklahoma Wind Energy Development Act. NextEra argued the Act did not create a private right of action for violations of the public notice and public meeting requirement and that the sole penalty for non-compliance was an administrative penalty imposed by the Corporation Commission.

“The Oklahoma Supreme Court appears not to have addressed the question,” said Judge Heaton in his ruling. “Therefore this court, faced with an unsettled issue of state law, must base its decision on how it predicts the Oklahoma Supreme Court would rule if presented with the question. While the issue is not free from doubt, the court concludes the plaintiff’s view is more likely to prevail.”

He said in his opinion, the Corporation Commission does not have exclusive jurisdiction to enforce the Act’s provisions pertaining to the notification and public meeting requirements.