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Wind farm litigation flounders

While NextEra Energy Resources continues to construct a wind farm in eastern El Paso County, a coalition of concerned residents in the area has been fighting the project by filing a lawsuit against NextEra and the EPC Board of County Commissioners. The same coalition filed an injunction to halt construction on the wind farm until a decision on the lawsuit had been reached.

Status of lawsuit against NextEra and EPC

On March 5, the coalition known as the El Paso County Property Rights Coalition and four individual plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against EPC and NextEra. The individual plaintiffs were Donna Bryant, Eric Henderson, Laura Wilson and Joan Wilson.

Court documents indicate that the suit was filed because the BOCC “exceeded its jurisdiction” when it approved the Golden West Wind Farm project at the February meeting.

In June, the coalition was informed that all the individual plaintiffs in the original lawsuit were being dismissed, said coalition member Laura Wilson.

“The judge decided that the only plaintiff he would allow on the lawsuit was the property rights coalition,” she said. Because she is the representative for the coalition, Wilson said she is the one NextEra’s attorneys will be targeting for information such as the names and addresses of the other coalition members.

“I’ll probably go to jail because the judge will likely compel me to give up the information, but I won’t,” Wilson said.

As of the NFH deadline, no court date had been set for the property rights coalition to present their case to a judge.

Injunction status
On April 8, the coalition filed an injunction to halt construction on the project –- which began in early April –- until a ruling had been handed down on the original lawsuit.

In late April, NextEra filed a response to the injunction, requesting that the coalition put up a $400-million bond to pay for potential monetary losses the company might suffer because of its current investment in constructing the project, according to the June issue of The New Falcon Herald.

In mid-June, Wilson said the judge who was considering the injunction threw the entire case out. Wilson said she was told the injunction had been tossed out because of a mistake in the wording. The judge did not consider the content of the injunction at all; he looked it over and threw it out, Wilson said. “I’m devastated that the project can just keep going with nothing in its way now,” she said.

“What ever happened to every person having the right to have their day in court and get their case heard by a judge?”