Coal Plant Referendum Lawsuit

A lawsuit was filed in circuit court Thursday challenging the ballot language of Tallahassee's planned referendum on the issue.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by Ross Burnaman, an environmental attorney in town. He says he won't make any comments to the media.

Burnaman asked that the ballot language be declared unconstitutional, and if the election is held, that the court nullify the results. He's basing his suit on a 1992 charter called "the referendum for citizen approval of the use of coal," which says a majority of the voters must “ok” any coal deal if the plant is located in Leon or the adjacent counties.

Jim English, Tallahassee city attorney, says, "The complaint doesn't have any impact on the scheduled election; it doesn't ask to stop the election or have any impact on it, so everything should go on as planned."

English adds that the lawsuit is correct in that the referendum is not being done pursuant to the charter because this is a voter preference election.

The city will be taking a closer look at this suit. English says that no hearing as been filed yet. The city has 20 days to respond, so he says the city is looking at the suit, but it is unlikely a hearing will be scheduled in the next several weeks


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