WASHINGTON - An energy nonprofit that a Nebraska judge this month barred from involvement in a $529 million bond-funded public power deal plans to appeal the decision.

The board of directors of Nebraska Municipal Power Pool on Tuesday voted unanimously to appeal the ruling.

The defendants typically would have 30 days from the date of the ruling, July 8, to file an appeal. Market participants have said the power pool could appeal on grounds that a public entity cannot possess proprietary information. Daniel E. Klaus of Rembolt Ludtke LLP, the attorney for the NMPP, did not respond to requests for a comment on grounds for the appeal.

In the court decision, Judge Steven D. Burns of the Lancaster County, Neb., County District Court prohibited the NMPP and three of its executives from participation in the Central Plains Energy Project after a judge found the executives had used proprietary information from the American Public Energy Agency, a gas purchaser and bond issuer, to create the CPEP. The project was created using "unlawful or oppressive means" as a competitor to the APEA and, the judge said, took business away from the agency.

Two of the NMPP executives - executive director J. Gary Stauffer and director of capital strategies Evan Ward - were ordered to pay $3.3 million in damages to the APEA.

The judge also ordered the three men - Stauffer, Ward, and John Harms of the NMPP management team - and NMPP to pay $477,828 in damages to Falls City, Neb., in connection with the creation of the CPEP.

Central Plains is a prepaid gas project funded using $529 million of revenue bonds that were issued early last year. Another similar bond-funded project was slated to go to market last October. It will instead move forward later this year, according to the project's new management, the Metropolitan Utilities District, a project participant and major utilities provider.

The Nebraska Municipal Power Pool is no longer involved in administering the Central Plains project, according to Bob Selzer of the NMPP.

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