A Nevada utility company's recent decision to pull out of a major wind project along the Idaho and Nevada border has local officials worried about the project's future.
"This might be the nail in the coffin for this project," said Twin Falls County Commissioner Leon Mills.
So when the next threat came to the valley - a proposed transmission line of 190-foot-high towers that would run through their ranches and obscure their scenic views on its way to the Columbia River - folks here knew that words mattered.
That was a lesson Idaho Power executives had to learn the hard way.
Two bills making it easier for landowners to set up wind power generation systems on farms, ranches or state lands were signed recently by Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.
One became effective immediately. It is House Bill 189, which moves the taxes assessed on wind farm operations from the ad valorem property tax roles to the production tax list. Operators will be taxed on their output, rather than on the physical generation equipment.
This means more monies will go to the counties, and the amount should even increase a little from year to year, said Dar Olberding, lobbyist for the Idaho Grain Producers Association.
That's why the counties supported this bill, he said.
“The end consequence, that of increased power rates, is detrimental to Idahoans as a people and our whole economy,” says Christensen. “Our state legislators have only been hearing from one side, those with their hand in the money pot. It’s time for Idaho to look at our own facts and not rely on what is being fed to them by those standing to profit.”