Oneidas win appeal on waste plant permit

Site of the proposed Oneida Seven Generations Corporation waste-to-energy plant in Green Bay (file photo).
Site of the proposed Oneida Seven Generations Corporation waste-to-energy plant in Green Bay (file photo).

GREEN BAY – A state appeals court says the city of Green Bay over-stepped when it stopped a waste-to-energy plant.

Oneida Seven Generations Corporation, a business arm of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, wanted to build the facility on Hurlbut Street, which is near the bay.

The city council approved the plans in 2011, but changed its mind in the fall of 2012 after public opposition to the project grew.

Seven Generations then sued the city.

The city argued Seven Generations officials misrepresented what was included in the plans and won that lower court battle.

But Tuesday’s decision overturns that.

The Court of Appeals says the Green Bay city council caved to growing public opposition to the project, when it shouldn't have. In the ruling, the court said the city did not give enough evidence to stop the plan.

Oneida Tribe spokeswoman Bobbi Webster says it's unclear what the future will hold.

"All those (federal, state and local) authorities gave their blessing to the application,” said Webster. “We followed the process to the T. So, that should have been an indication that the project should have moved forward."

The city's attorney Tony Wachewicz responded in a statement, saying the city is reviewing its options in light of the decision.

Seven Generations’ future unclear

It's also unclear what the future of Seven Generations is. Tribe members voted in December to dissolve the company.

"The tribe has to look at implementing that directive,” said Webster. “So it has not been dissolved as of today.”

"Is that because there is current litigation going forward?" asked FOX 11’s Bill Miston.

"I can't say why that is," Webster said.

This isn't the only lawsuit stemming from the waste-to-energy project.

The tribe and Seven Generations are being sued in Illinois by three former project partners. Those partners are seeking $400 million dollars.

It is unclear if the appeals court ruling will impact that case.

Wachewicz says he's aware of the lawsuit in Illinois, but doesn't know much about it.

Calls to the Seven Generations and the law firm representing the former business partners were not been returned.