Articles filed under General from Idaho

Politics trumps science in Idaho - once again

The fate of Dave Parrish (the demoted Idaho Department of Fish and Game regional supervisor) somewhat parallels that of Don Quixote when the valorous knight attacked a windmill he mistook for a giant. ...With the support of Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, Rep. Bedke picked up the phone and relayed to the governor's office that he thought Dave Parrish's remarks in his editorial to the Twin Falls Times-News were "inappropriate," came too early in the environmental process and violated Gov. Butch Otter's media policy.
10 Sep 2008

Many wind farm projects in the works

According to Sierra Pacific Power Co. spokesman Fay Anderson, there are several locations in Nevada being studied for wind-generated electricity projects, the farthest along outside of the Virginia Range project being in Elko County. There also are projects proposed for Lincoln, Clark and White Pine counties. ...
7 Sep 2008

Parrish should not have been demoted

I was disappointed and alarmed that Dave was demoted by the department in a purely political move. Dave and his staff came under heat when the Magic Valley office opposed Cove Springs in Blaine County because of its negative wildlife impacts. In fact, Dave's job was threatened then when the Cove developers complained to the governor and his Fish and Game supervisors. This summer, Dave spoke out about the wildlife impacts of a large proposed wind farm and that brought the hatchet down, despite his having worked on hundreds of projects which were successfully negotiated.
20 Aug 2008

F&G official should be allowed to have his say

Last month, the Magic Valley's regional Fish and Game supervisor, David Parrish, spoke his mind about how a proposed wind farm might injure wildlife. Parrish got demoted and transferred to Fish and Game's headquarters in Boise. But the real victim is the political independence of Idaho's wildlife agency and its staffers. ...He ran afoul of three Republican lawmakers - Rep. Stephen Hartgen of Twin Falls, who worked as a consultant on the project; Sen. Bert Brackett of Rogerson, whose nephew owns land on which part of the wind farm could be built; and Assistant House Republican Leader Scott Bedke of Oakley -- who complained to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.
19 Aug 2008

Fish & Game defends demotion of Parrish

Fish and Game officials informed state employees on Aug. 4 that David Parrish of Jerome would no longer serve as regional supervisor for the area, which covers the eight counties in south-central Idaho. Parrish had been in the position for eight years. The decision came one month after the Times-News printed a letter Parrish wrote in response to an editorial endorsing the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm project. After discussing the letter with Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, Idaho House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, contacted Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter with the concern that Parrish had violated the governor's office's media policy.
16 Aug 2008

Otter's policy stifles candor

Some semblance of the Bush administration's notorious policy of silencing employees from speaking freely seems to have seeped into the personnel rules of Idaho Gov. Butch Otter. One casualty of Otter's speak-no-evil speech restrictions is highly regarded, longtime state Fish and Game Regional Supervisor Dave Parrish, who was demoted and transferred from Twin Falls to Boise after writing a letter to the editor of the Twin Falls Times-News criticizing the impact on wildlife of a proposed wind-power generating farm in the Magic Valley.
13 Aug 2008

F&G supervisor suddenly demoted; Agency touts speak-with-one-voice policy

David Parrish, who spent 16 years in the Magic Valley office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, including the last eight as supervisor, has been demoted and transferred to Boise as the agency's fisheries program coordinator. ...Idaho House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, said she is concerned that the state's agencies are not given the opportunity to assess issues as experts. Rather, the rank-and-file uniformity mentioned in Warbis' e-mail indicates that the state's leading experts must now opine as politicians.
8 Aug 2008

Magic Valley Fish and Game supervisor demoted

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has demoted David Parrish as Magic Valley regional supervisor a month after he publicly criticized an estimated $500 million wind project south of Twin Falls. Parrish's comments prompted a high-ranking legislator to contact Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and express concern that Parrish had violated the governor's office's media policy. Fish and Game announced the demotion Monday to state employees - but did not do so publicly.
7 Aug 2008

Bingham County Commissioners to review wind turbine approval

At the end of April, we told you about the Bingham County Planning and Zoning commission's approval of an application to build a wind turbine farm in the Wolverine Canyon area. Monday was the deadline for people to submit appeals to the decision. According to those that work in the Planning and Zoning office, two appeals were filed.
6 May 2008

Idaho utility companies, wind developers come to agreement

To resolve cost issues, the utility commission established an amount that utilities can assess against wind developers to make up for the costs associated with integrating wind into the power grid. The commission also removed a cap on the size of small-power projects that can qualify for a rate published by the commission. However, the judgment was not easily reached. In 2005, Idaho Power asked the commission to suspend small-power wind development so it could study how much it costs the company to provide back-up generation when wind output fluctuates.
23 Feb 2008

Cotterel Mountains still turbine free

A year and a half after securing Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval for a 100-unit wind farm on the Cotterel Mountains near Albion, Windland, Inc. has yet to lay definite plans for building the project. Windland Director of Marketing and Development Mike Heckler said the windmills will eventually be built, but doing so depends on Windland's ability to sell the up to 200 megawatts of power its Cotterel facility will produce. "We continue to work with the BLM and collect wind data," he said. "But the item that's pacing when windmills are built on Cotterel Mountain are market conditions."
13 Feb 2008

Wind farm developers withdraw plans for E. Idaho project

A Seattle company has withdrawn plans to develop a wind farm in Eastern Idaho because local government leaders failed to properly notify affected landowners. ...The Bingham County Commission delayed a public hearing on the project Tuesday after learning that 75 landowners in two subdivisions near the site were not made aware of the hearing.
14 Nov 2007

Wind Turbines Hit Road Block

Ridgeline Energy has scrapped its plans to build a 150-turbine wind farm in Bingham County's Wolverine Canyon, which is a popular recreation site. After Bingham County openly made a serious mistake, the company, which also built a wind farm in Bonneville County, is back to the drawing board. So how exactly could this happen? These orange sections you see together make up the 48,000 miles of Wolverine Canyon. The county's planning and zoning department was supposed to notify anyone within 300 ft of the project, but they admit, overlooked some areas. Bower: "It was the counties mistake." Although they say it wasn't intentional.
13 Nov 2007

Idaho Power gives up on coal-fired plant

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the Boise utility "determined that coal-fired generation is not the best technology to meet its resource needs in 2013." The company had planned to get an additional 250 megawatts from coal by then. Instead, it now aims to develop a new natural gas turbine somewhere in southern Idaho by 2012, to augment plans to add 101 megawatts of wind generation in December 2008 and 45.5 megawatts of geothermal generation in phases between 2007 and 2011. ..."The realities are, you still need a resource to back up nondispatchable resources like wind," he said. "As we look at it right now, the best immediate technology for today is a combined-cycle natural-gas power plant."
7 Nov 2007

Group of E. Idaho residents oppose wind farm

A group of eastern Idaho residents has banded together to oppose a proposed wind farm they say will destroy scenic views and harm wildlife. ...Coalition members said the 300-foot tall wind turbines, miles of roads and traffic will harm wildlife as well as be a disaster for people who like to hike, hunt, ride ATVs and go snowmobiling in the area. "Can you imagine looking up there and seeing windmills?" Grover said. "It's unbelievable."
3 Nov 2007

Windmill Appeal Meeting

A special use permit has already been approved in Bingham County for a Seattle-based company to build 150 wind turbines in the Wolverine Canyon area. But that decision is not going over well with dozens of people who own land in the area, and they filed an appeal with the Bingham County Commissioners. After hours of looking into all the facts, commissioners felt they needed more information before making their final decision. ..."We feel that the windmills are going to affect the scenery. It's gonna affect the way things are done historically. It's a recreational area and should be left as recreational area." In front of a packed courtroom, Bingham County Commissioners talked about the appeal and if all necessary steps were taken to notify people of the public hearing.
29 Oct 2007

Public Meeting Set For Windmill Appeal

It's official, an appeal has been filed with the Bingham County Commissioners regarding the approval of over 100 wind turbines to be erected in Wolverine Canyon. Last month, Bingham County's Planning and Zoning Commission signed off on a special use permit allowing Ridgeline Energy to install 150 windmills east of Firth.
16 Oct 2007

Bingham County Windmill Appeal To Be Filed

Last week we told you about the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission approving a special use permit to Ridgeline Energy to install 150 windmills in Wolverine Canyon. Now concerned land owners and people who use the area for recreation are fighting that decision. Some of those in attendance at the hearing last Wednesday have banned together and hired an attorney to present an appeal to the Bingham County Commissioners.
5 Oct 2007

PUC accepting comments on issues affecting wind projects

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take comments through Sept. 21 on a proposed resolution to issues that have slowed development of small-wind projects in the state for two years. In 2005, Idaho Power Co., asked for a moratorium on wind development within its territory to allow the utility time to study how much it costs Idaho Power to provide back-up generation when wind output is less than projected. The commission denied the suspension, but agreed to lower the size of wind projects that can qualify for the rates utilities must pay generators of small renewable power projects from 10 megawatts to 100 kilowatts.
24 Aug 2007
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