The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Sierra Club v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng’rs, Nos. 10-3452 7 & 10-3456, 2011 WL 2718144 (8th Cir. July 14, 2011), upheld a preliminary injunction obtained by the Sierra Club against Southwestern Electric Power Company to stop construction of its new coal-fired power plant. SWEPCO had already spent $800 million on the project. Of particular concern to the court was the fact that SWEPCO commenced construction before all the permits had been issued and thus “steam rolled” the Army Corps of Engineers into issuing a Clean Air Act § 404 permit after inadequate review. SWEPCO will either have to get a new permit from the Corps after it further analyzes the project’s environmental impact or else attempt to get the preliminary injunction reversed on the merits in further litigation.
Note: Taft associate, Jeff Stemerick, contributed to this article.