Court OKs Blackwater San Diego project

SAN DIEGO, June 4 (UPI) -- A federal judge has ruled that Blackwater Worldwide may proceed with plans for a training facility in San Diego but left room for further legal challenges.

U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Huff ruled Wednesday that "the public interest weighs in favor" of allowing the controversial security contractor to open the facility in a warehouse near the Mexican border, the Los Angeles Times reported.


However, the judge told lawyers for San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders they would be able to argue at a June 17 hearing that Blackwater applied for permits under false pretenses by filing applications using the names of subsidiaries, the newspaper said.

The project -- intended for use as a place to train U.S. Navy sailors in weapons and other "force protection" techniques -- is being opposed by environmentalists, Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., and opponents of U.S. policy in Iraq, the Times reported.

Blackwater is a major private contractor providing services and personnel to the U.S. war effort.

Dan McGrath, executive assistant city attorney, said Huff's ruling improperly deprives San Diego of its right to make land use decisions.


Blackwater filed suit last month claiming the city had already approved all necessary permits before the mayor and city attorney said it wanted to subject the project to further review.

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