Department of Justice lawyer Joel McElvain said at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson that the President will rule within the next 10 days on an order by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. barring Chinese-owned Ralls Corp. from carrying out its plans to build four wind farms begun in 2009 by Oregon Windfarms LLC and removing its equipment. Ralls acquired the projects earlier this year.
Ralls sued CFIUS on Sept. 12, alleging that without presidential approval, CFIUS has no authority to issue an order that effectively kills the acquisition. The company also complained that CFIUS never explained how Ralls' operation of the wind farm would endanger national security.
The CFIUS order came after the U.S. Navy raised concerns about one of the wind farm's proximity to restricted airspace used for flight training.
Ralls has pressed Jackson, who is presiding over the court case, to rule quickly because the company needs to begin construction soon if it is complete the project in time to qualify for a federal tax credit. If the wind farms aren't operational by Dec. 31 the company won't be eligible $25 million in federal investment tax incentives.
Jackson delayed a decision at Ralls' request until Sept. 20 and urged the government and Ralls to try to reach an agreement. But DOJ's McElvain cautioned that any agreement between Ralls and CFIUS would superseded by the President's decision.
Ralls' attorneys told Jackson they have proposed some alternative locations for the turbine sites that would not affect national security.
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