A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that Tenneco Oil Co. can continue building a power plant in Newhall despite objections from the city of Santa Clarita.
Judge Miriam A. Vogel agreed with Santa Clarita officials, who ordered Tenneco to stop work on the $35-million plant Sept. 1, that building permits for the project were issued by mistake. But Vogel said the company obtained the permits in good faith and should not be penalized for the error.
The city and the Placerita Canyon Homeowners Assn. have tried for 11 months to scuttle the plant, contending it will pollute the ground water and air, lower property values and generally disturb the tranquility of Placerita Canyon.
Last Dec. 15, the day Santa Clarita incorporated, the City Council passed a moratorium preventing construction on the power plant site, an old oil field near Placerita Canyon Road and Sierra Highway.
But a few months later, Los Angeles County, acting on Santa Clarita’s behalf as the new city organized its government, granted the permits in violation of the moratorium. “I think what happened is an honest-to-goodness mistake,” Vogel said.