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Court Nixes Citizen Suit To Block GE Power Plant

(CN) - A federal appeals court in San Diego dismissed the efforts of environmentalists and a school district seeking to halt the construction of a GE subsidiary power plant near an elementary school in Riverside, Calif.

The Romoland School District and environmental groups sued Inland Empire Energy Center and South Coast Air Quality Management District, claiming its plans for a 810-megawatt power plant only 1,100 feet from Romoland Elementary School violated the Clean Air Act.

The energy company argued, and the district court agreed, that the court lacked jurisdiction because IEEC held a permit for the plant that can't be challenged in federal court.

The school district filed a voluntary motion to dismiss, so that it could appeal. The court granted the motion, but the energy company and the air quality district argued that the order is not appealable.

The 9th Circuit allowed the appeal, but determined that the lower court lacked jurisdiction over the citizen suit.

"(A) claim that the terms of that permit are inconsistent with other requirements of the Clean Air Act may only be brought in accordance with the judicial review procedures authorized by Title V of that Act," Judge Gould wrote, "and may not be brought in federal district court under the Act's citizen suit provision."

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