Federal bankruptcy Judge Mary D. France has ruled that Pennsylvania's capital city of Harrisburg may not seek bankruptcy protection, calling such a filing illegal.
France issued the ruling Wednesday after hearing more than two hours of arguments. The bankruptcy petition was filed by Harrisburg City Council without the consent of Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Dauphin County, bond issuers and others.
City Council says it will decide whether or not to appeal.
The Susquehanna River city of 50,000 is saddled with about $300 million in debt tied to its nearly 40-year-old trash incinerator. Beset by environmental problems and fines for years, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shut it down in 2003 with about $100 million in debt already piled on it, some of which had gone to finance other city projects.