Description: Challenge to DOE funding for lumber-based ethanol plant.
Klein v. United States Department of Energy
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 05/21/2014 Opinion Download Klein has standing to sue the U.S. Department of Energy. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court ruling that plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approval of a $100-million grant for a lumber-based ethanol plant in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The grant represented approximately 34% of the total cost of constructing the plant. The Sixth Circuit ruled that, contrary to the finding of the district court for the Western District of Michigan, plaintiffs had provided sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that the plant would not be built without the DOE grant. They had therefore adequately established the redressability element of standing. On the merits, however, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the judgment in favor of the defendants, finding that DOE had complied with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Among other impacts that DOE had adequately considered were the proposed plant’s greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental assessment concluded that the plant’s reductions in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions would result in a decrease in net greenhouse gas emissions.