Library from Idaho
Greener energy sources such as geothermal wells and sprawling wind farms are being touted as the nation's environmentally friendly answer to energy independence, but so far, alternative energy developers are finding that they face many of the same conflicts as traditional generation plants.
At a time when Idaho trails others in harnessing wind resources, the Office of Energy Resources has disbanded the state's wind-power think tank and reassigned a staff member who had focused on wind projects to work on energy efficiency instead. The staffer, Gerald Fleischman, told the Idaho Wind Power Working Group he "will no longer be able to respond to requests about wind issues and wind projects," according to a letter obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Rocky Mountain Power is asking landowners for their input on the route of a major transmission line proposed to run across southern Wyoming from the Casper area to the Idaho border. Representatives of the Salt Lake City-based utility told the Carbon County Commission last week that it has identified a 2-mile-wide corridor for its proposed Gateway West transmission line, which would carry 500 kilovolts of electricity.
Dave Parrish, the former Magic Valley regional supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, has challenged his demotion earlier this year following a letter he wrote to the Times-News. Meanwhile, department officials have chosen a habitat manager from north Idaho as Parrish's permanent replacement.
[A windmill] ordinance was one of the main topics of conversation at a Bonneville County Planning & Zoning meeting held at the Bonneville County Courthouse Wednesday night. Despite meeting until after midnight, nothing was decided upon. "The process of getting the government to go through and create and ordinance and draft an ordinance takes time. They don't like to just create an ordinance in five minutes and send it out," said Steven Serr of the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Commission.
Southeastern Idaho farmers fear damage to a U.S. Interstate 86 exit near American Falls could impact the fall sugar beet harvest by forcing beet-laden trucks to take an inconvenient detour. On Sept. 25, a truck carrying the base for a large wind turbine failed to exit the freeway, damaging the Exit 40 overchange bridge.
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.
Supporters of a highly controversial wind farm project said Tuesday they believe they're being targeted and have now become victims of ruthless crimes over the summer. The Thompson family found nine cows -- the most they've ever seen -- shot and killed on their property. This after they got the green light to plant 66 wind turbines on about 5,000 acres of their private ranch just east of Shelley.
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. ...
A group in southeastern Idaho has requested a judicial review of the Bingham County commissioners' approval of two wind farms. Natural Guardian Limited Partnership of Idaho Falls requested the review late last month because it said the production of energy is not in compliance with a county ordinance. The group also said there were inconsistencies within the county's planning and zoning decisions when it came to approving the wind farms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
David Parrish, reassigned from Magic Valley regional supervisor to Boise as fisheries program coordinator, wrote in a letter to The Times-News on July 6 that the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm "will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife." "It's a no-brainer - the footprint of a project that will cover prime habitat (for) sage grouse, mule deer, antelope and other sagebrush dependent species," Parrish wrote.
Less than 24 hours after they unanimously approved a wind farm in Wolverine Canyon, Bingham County Commissioners gave the go-ahead for another wind farm to be built just three miles away. Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission denied a special use permit for Western Energy Corporation in May.
Construction of a 150-turbine wind farm on 20,000 acres along Wolverine Canyon has been approved by Bingham County commissioners. The unanimous vote Monday to approve the plan by Ridgeline Energy LLC disappointed opponents who say the 490-foot turbines will be a blight on the scenic southeastern Idaho canyon, a popular recreation area south of Idaho Falls. ...Frank VanderSloot, owner of Melaleuca Inc. and a landowner in the area, said opponents are evaluating their options, including legal action.
A local wind farm company hopes to get the green light to spin. Tuesday, Western Energy will appeal the Planning and Zoning Committee's decision that previously denied their special use permit. The company wants to build 66 turbines on about 5,000 acres in a private ranch just east of Shelley. ...Neighbors are seeing red over this spinning saga saying it will destroy the scenery. But Thompson argues it's his property and the view isn't a guarantee.