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Judges throws out Gulf Coast law suit

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against two wind project developers in Texas last month, clearing the way for a pair of Gulf Coast wind projects to bring nearly 500 MW of an eventual 1200 MW online this year. The lawsuit alleged that the developers, Babcock & Brown and Iberdrola Renewables, along with Texas state officials, had violated state laws by not allowing environmental review or public comment before building the wind farms, which are under construction on the 1600 square kilometre Kenedy Ranch, a privately owned tract of land some 145 kilometres south of Corpus Christi (Windpower Monthly, July 2008). The lawsuit was filed by the Coastal Habitat Alliance, a group of 11 organisations that includes the nearby 3500 square kilometre King Ranch and several environmental groups among its members. Neither state nor federal approval is required to build wind projects on private land in Texas. "They've had a bunch of different claims and they've been dismissed one by one," says Babcock & Brown's Matt Dallas. "The judge just kind of threw everything out and this is pretty much the final blow." A total of 202 Mitsubishi 2.4 MW turbines are being installed in the two projects. "Construction was never halted so we're on track to complete the first phase by the end of the year," Dallas says.

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