School District Loses in Challenge to Power Plant

By Mark Walsh — November 18, 2008 1 min read
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It’s not often that school districts are involved in lawsuits under the federal Clean Air Act. But a California district has been, although without success in its efforts to use the federal law to halt the construction of a power plant near one of its schools.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled unanimously today to uphold the dismissal of a suit filed by the Romoland school district against a power company and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The school district in Riverside County, Calif., and other plaintiffs objected to the proposed construction of an 810-megawatt power plant about 1,100 feet away from Romoland Elementary School. The Inland Empire Energy Center, a subsidiary of General Electric Co., moved to dismiss the suit because the company had been granted a permit under the Clean Air Act.

A federal district court granted the motion to dismiss. In its opinion in Romoland School District v. Inland Empire Energy Center that is heavy on federal procedural issues, the 9th Circuit court upheld the lower court and that the district and other plaintiffs where challenging the power plant in the wrong forum.

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.