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Obama blocks Chinese purchase of US wind farms

By Julie Pace

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Sept. 28 2012 3:50 p.m. MDT

Earlier this month, Ralls sued the national security panel, alleging CFIUS exceeded its authority when it ordered the company to cease operations and withdraw from the wind-farm developments it bought. Ralls asked for a restraining order and a preliminary injunction to allow construction at the wind farms to continue. The firm said it would lose the chance for a $25 million investment tax if the farms were not operable by Dec. 31.

In a statement Friday, Tim Kia, a lawyer for Ralls, said the project posed no national security threat and said "the President's order is without justification, as scores of other wind turbines already operate in the area."

Ralls dropped its request for a preliminary injunction this week after CFIUS allowed the firm to resume some pre-construction work. With the lawsuit, continuing, the firm's lawyers were expected to react quickly to the administration decision, said a person familiar with the lawsuit who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitive legal repercussions.

Ralls' legal team includes Paul Clement and Viet Dinh, two top law veterans of President George W. Bush's administration. Both men were key players in Bush's aggressive national security operation.

Clement, who was solicitor-general and argued administration positions before the Supreme Court, has since opposed the Obama administration's health care plan and defended the Defense of Marriage Act before the top court.

Dinh, a former assistant attorney general who was the main architect of the Bush administration's anti-terror USA Patriot Act, has lately served as a director and legal adviser to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

A second Chinese firm stymied by CFIUS urged U.S. authorizes this week to investigate their firm to quell fears of ties to China's military. Huawei Technologies Ltd. announced in early September that it would unwind its purchase of U.S.-based computer firm 3Leaf Systems after the deal was rejected by CFIUS.

Huawei, one of the world's largest producers of computer network switching gear, has repeatedly struggled to convince U.S. authorities that they can be trusted to oversee sensitive technology sometimes used in national security work. In 2008, CFIUS concerns led Huawei and private equity firm Bain Capital to abandon an $2.2 billion deal to buy a firm that produces anti-hacking software for the U.S. military

Associated Press writers Stephen Braun and Ted Bridis contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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