A the U.S. Treasury building in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 16, 2011. (Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg)Bloomberg News
A Treasury Department official said Monday that President Barack Obama‘s decision to block two Chinese nationals from acquiring wind farm projects in Oregon can’t be reviewed by the judicial system, possibly making moot any lawsuit.
On Friday, Mr. Obama took the rare step of blocking two Chinese nationals from acquiring wind farm projects off the coast of Oregon, citing national security concerns. The White House said the sites are all within or near restricted air space at the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman in Oregon.
The company that tried to acquire the projects, Ralls Corp., suggested on Friday that it would challenge Mr. Obama’s decision in court.
“Ralls Corporation will continue to uphold and protect U.S. national security interests, and confirm its profound faith in the rule of law,” Tim Xia, counsel for Ralls Corp. said Friday.
But a Treasury Department spokeswoman said Monday that Mr. Obama’s decision could not be challenged in court, as it was made using the president’s powers under the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
This power gives Mr. Obama and top government officials the power to scrutinize acquisitions of U.S. companies or U.S. interests by foreign-owned firms if national security issues might arise.
“They could try to pursue a lawsuit,” Treasury Department spokeswomanNatalie Wyeth Earnest said. “But the CFIUS statute clearly states that the President’s actions are not subject to judicial review.”
Even though roughly 100 acquisitions are reviewed under CFIUS every year, Mr. Obama’s decision on Friday marked only the second time in 22 years that a president has blocked a deal.