Utah trial begins over permit for power plant

Trial is set to begin today in Price, Utah, on a suit by environmental organizations alleging that a state official abused his authority in allowing a nuclear power plant project to proceed.

State Engineer Kent Jones approved plans by Blue Castle Holdings to use 53,000 acre feet of water from the Green River annually for the power plant.

HEAL Utah, Uranium Watch, Living Rivers and others filed suit contending that Jones should have made sure that Blue Castle Holdings had enough money to complete the project, as required by state law.

The plaintiffs described the company as financially struggling, a characterization that Blue Castle President Aaron Tilton disputed.

Blue Castle has spent $17 million so far on the project, Tilton said.

Blue Castle Holdings is applying to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to license the plant.

Jones ruled that Blue Castle met requirements to show the water is available, that existing rights won’t be impaired and that the project is feasible.

The plant would be built in an energy park four miles west of the town of Green River.

Matt Pacenza of HEAL Utah said the trial is “likely the final opportunity” for a Utah official to have a say on the plant.

Tilton called it a “last ditch” effort to stop the project.

The trial will be conducted in the Price courthouse.


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