Missouri Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Breckenridge ruled in favor of the papers Tuesday, ordering Judge Kelly Moorhouse to "vacate and set aside" the temporary restraining order against the papers. Breckenridge gave Moorhouse until March 16 to respond.
Last week, the Pitch broke news about a confidential letter that reveals the BPU may be liable for thousands of dollars in fines for failing to comply with federal anti-pollution regulations. The Star ran a similar article after the Pitch's story appeared on Pitch.com Friday afternoon.
Friday evening, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Kelly Moorhouse ruled in favor of the BPU and ordered the stories taken down, saying the BPU would be "irreparably harmed" if they remained on the papers' Web sites. She also barred the papers from distributing the confidential document.
The document was prepared November 16, 2004, by lawyer Stanley A. Reigel. It weighs the pros and cons of admitting to the Environmental Protection Agency that upgrades at BPU power plants did not comply with the federal Clean Air Act. According to Reigel's letter, his report was spurred by a November 14, 2003, analysis of BPU's coal-fired power plants by Burns & McDonnell Engineers, which determined that upgrades to the plants to make them comply with regulations would cost nearly $160 million.
It's unclear whether the BPU took any action after Reigel delivered his letter. The utility did not report Reigel's findings to the EPA, according to Becky Dolph, an attorney for the EPA.
Reigel's 15-page document identifies 73 repairs or upgrades made between January 1980 and November 2004 that may not have followed EPA rules. Reigel determined that 15 of them were "questionable" and another 15 were "probably not defensible" if the EPA conducted an audit.