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Biomass power plant lawsuit dropped


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by opponents of the biomass power plant in Rothschild.

Marathon County Judge Mike Moran ruled Thursday that opponents missed a deadline for filing for the lawsuit in June by five days. He also said the lawsuit is not valid because it was filed by an attorney who is not licensed to practice law in Wisconsin.

“Courts have acknowledged that requiring strict compliance can lead to harsh results,” Moran said. “But if the rules are to be meaningful, they are to be unbending.”

Dennis Grzezinski, a lawyer with the Milwaukee office of Midwest Environmental Advocates, said he had not spoken with his clients and could not say whether they would file an appeal.

“Whether they will decide that they've traveled this path far enough or whether they believe there are further efforts that ought to be undertaken, that's a question for the future and predicting the future is hard,” Grzezinski said.

The lawsuit asked the state Department of Natural Resources to revoke air permits it granted for the biomass plant, arguing that the department did not complete a thorough environmental review or follow state siting laws.

We Energies began construction this summer on the $255 million plant, which will go up just south of the Domtar paper mill. The project should be done by 2013.