Oneida Seven Generations complaint against Green Bay dismissed

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

GREEN BAY (WLUK) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Oneida Seven Generations Corp. against the city of Green Bay regarding a failed waste-to-energy project.

In 2010, the Oneida Seven Generations Corp. (OSGC) received city permission to build a power plant fueled by municipal solid waste. However, after construction started, the City Council revoked the conditional use permit. The tribal corporation was seeking to recover damages. It sought $5 million to recover expenses and $16 million in lost profits, plus other costs.

The city had asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, and in a ruling filed Tuesday, a federal judge granted the request.

In the 13-page ruling, Judge William Griesbach said that because after the OSGC won a ruling in state court reversing the Council's decision - but did not pursue the plant any further - the decision not to build belongs to the tribe, not the city.

"The fact that OSGC ultimately prevailed and could have completed the project had it chosen to do so also makes the City Council's decision less shocking or egregious than a substantive due process violation requires. There is no suggestion that the City Council members were aware that delay would essentially kill the project because it would lose whatever economic viability it might have had. In the final analysis, the City's action caused a delay in the project; it was apparently a change in other factors over which the City had no control that caused OSGC to abandon it," the judge wrote.

In a statement, Mayor Jim Schmitt said, "“We just learned the Federal Court dismissed the complaint filed by Oneida Seven Generations Corporation. The suit against the City of Green Bay was based on the revocation of a conditional use permit for their intended waste-to-energy facility. This is great news for City tax payers, as OSGC sought millions in damages from the City. The decision issued by Judge William C. Griesbach states that even though the City should not have revoked the permit, due process was adequately given. We respect the ruling by the federal court, and hope to move forward with mutual respect and relationships with the Oneida Nation."

The Oneida Nation has not responded to Fox 11's request for comment.

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