Renewable + LawSM

U.S. District Judge Rules on Ralls Corp Challenge to President Obama's Divestiture Order

There has been a new development in the effort by Ralls Corporation, a company owned by two Chinese nationals, to challenge President Obama’s September 2012 order requiring it to divest its interests in four wind projects in Oregon and to remove any equipment and infrastructure it had placed on the sites of the proposed projects.  The President’s order, issued pursuant to section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (“Section 721”), had cited unspecified national security risks as the reason for blocking Ralls Corporation’s acquisition of the wind projects, but the sites of the four proposed projects are near or within restricted airspace of U.S. Naval Weapons System Training Facility Boardman.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that she could not overturn President Obama’s order. In her opinion, Judge Jackson said that the law "is not the least bit ambiguous about the role of the courts: 'The actions of the president . . . and the findings of the president . . . shall not be subject to judicial review.'"  Therefore, the judge declined to review the President’s findings on the merits.  However, she did determine that the court has jurisdiction to determine whether the President followed proper procedures in implementing Section 721.  The judge will rule on that due process issue following further briefing by the parties.  If Ralls Corporation wins on the merits of the due process claim, it may be entitled to hear the reasons for the President’s decision to block the acquisition of the wind projects.

*Update: Ralls Corp reacted to Judge Jackson's ruling by insisting they would "persist in the lawsuit to the end and will appeal to the circuit court or the supreme court [sic] of the United States if necessary." See here for more of the company's reaction.

Download a full copy of the opinion here (PDF). See our prior posts for more background on the case.

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