A Chinese-owned company is challenging U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to block its acquisition of a wind farm near a sensitive U.S. military site used to test unmanned drones.
Ralls Corporation filed a lawsuit late Monday claiming Obama exceeded his constitutional rights and did not provide evidence to support his decision, according to China's official Xinhua news agency.
Last week, Obama ordered Ralls to stop the project and sell off its four planned wind farms that were to be built in the northwestern state of Oregon.
The White House order from the president said, "There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Ralls Corporation... might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."
It is the first time in two decades that a U.S. president has blocked a foreign purchase on such grounds. The move follows a recommendation made last month by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., an inter-governmental panel that monitors the national security implications of foreign investments. Ralls is also suing that committee.
Obama's decision comes just weeks before the U.S. presidential election at a time when his political rival Mitt Romney has accused the White House of not being tough enough on China's trade practices.
Xinhua said both Obama's Democratic Party and the rival Republican Party are using "China-bashing tactic[s] to woo some blue-collar voters" during an "election year when the U.S. economy is mired in tepid growth and high unemployment rate."
Ralls' lawsuit says the company was deprived of due process and is seeking "fair treatment under the law and Constitution."
A U.S. Treasury spokesperson said the administration believes the lawsuit "has no merit" and that it will "defend the case vigorously." Analysts say the suit has little chance of success, since U.S. law gives the president broad powers to exercise discretion in national security matters.
Ralls Corporation is owned by two Chinese executives of Sany Group, China's largest machinery manufacturer, according to Xinhua.
The Treasury Department said the company's proposed wind farm sites are near or within restricted Navy airspace at the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility. The facility in Boardman, Oregon is used to test drones and practice air combat maneuvers and non-explosive bombing and missile exercises.
The Treasury Department said the president's decision is specific to the Ralls case and is "not a precedent with regard to any other foreign direct investment from China or any other country."