October 9, 2013 / 11:33 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. court dismisses Chinese firm's suit against Obama over wind farm

NEW YORK, Oct 9 (Reuters) - A federal judge in Washington on Wednesday dismissed the remainder of a lawsuit brought by a small Chinese firm against President Barack Obama for squashing its bid to build wind farms close to a U.S. naval training site.

Experts had predicted the lawsuit had little chance to succeed because of the president’s broad powers to protect national security.

Ralls Corp., a company owned by two Chinese nationals, was intalling wind turbines close to the training site in Oregon, which, according to the facility’s website, is used to test unmanned drones - a highly sensitive and prized U.S. technology.

Obama issued an order instructing Ralls to sell off the four planned wind farms due to national security risks, the first time since 1990 that a U.S. president has formally blocked a business transaction or required a sale on such grounds.

In its suit filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington in September, Ralls said the president had exceeded his authority and that the U.S. had provided no evidence or explanation of what the alleged national security risks were.

U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson in February dismissed most of the claims, finding that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear challenges to Obama’s order that Ralls end its plans because such an order is not subject to judicial review.

But Jackson allowed Ralls to pursue a remaining claim that Obama’s order violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In Wednesday’s ruling, however, Jackson ruled against Ralls, writing that the company had “received sufficient process” before Obama’s order was made. Jackson noted also that Ralls chose not to seek U.S. approval before acquiring the wind farms.

Tim Tingkang Xia, an attorney for Ralls, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The U.S. Department of Justice was not available for comment.

Obama’s order followed a recommendation from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency group headed by the Treasury secretary that evaluates the national security risks of foreign investments in U.S. companies or operations.

The case is Ralls Corporation v. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, U.S. District for the District of Columbia, No. 12-01513. (Reporting by Andrew Longstreth; Editing by Ken Wills)

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