Court upholds EPA's ruling to halt construction at Aspen Power

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The fifth circuit court of appeals denied Aspen Power's request to reverse EPA's order that the company stop construction, according to owner Danny Vines.

Vines said the company has already sent a second brief to the fifth circuit, but it could be a few days before they hear anything.

Vines said while they are making the appeals to initiate construction, they are now focusing more on their contested case hearing on April 27.

On Thursday, Texas Ranger Sgt. Pete Maskunas said authorities are investigating felony charges dealing with documents voicing support of Aspen Power Plant.

Maskunas said a DPS lab analysis showed at least two signatures were forged.

According to Maskunas, the investigation began when Aspen Power made a request to TCEQ for an air quality permit. TCEQ obtained letters of support and letters of opposition. After receiving a letter of opposition from one man, TCEQ received a letter of support supposedly from the same man.

TCEQ wrote the man and thanked him for withdrawing his opposition. The man then let them know he had not submitted a letter of support and someone must have submitted his signature.

A further investigation revealed another person's name was also forged.

Maskunas stressed the investigation was not necessarily into Aspen Power or anyone who worked with Aspen Power.

While the Texas Rangers had not named a suspect yet, they have interviewed several people, Maskunas said.

Because the permit request was filed in Travis County, a Travis County grand jury will hear the evidence when it is ready.