Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

All posts by Tim Bondy

The Cat Creek Project Will Get A New Public Rehearing

Project Approval Rehearing will be scheduled soon

A rehearing on the amendments to the approval and conditions contemplated by the Elmore County/Cat Creek Energy Development Agreement will be scheduled very soon.

If that lead sentence didn’t confuse you, then it’s likely you have a legal background somewhere in your DNA.

Yes, this whole Cat Creek Energy project is a complex and data-intensive issue. Starting today we will try to simplify some of the legal and technical aspects surrounding our objections, and many of your objections as well, to this entire project. They say, “knowledge is power,” so a good start to gaining that knowledge is reading or skimming the documentation Elmore County drafted for the upcoming rehearing. 

Download the full 14-page pdf by clicking here …  May 18, 2018 - Elmore County Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order Document

The hotlink to the document can be found here …



S Bar Ranch’s Rebuttal to Cat Creek Energy (Holland & Hart, LLP) Document

A snippet from the rebuttal document.

The Entities Listed in the Rebuttal

  • Holland & Hart (HH):  the law firm currently representing Cat Creek Energy LLC
  • S Bar Ranch (SBR): owner/operator Chris Stevens
  • Hawley Troxell (HTEH): the law firm representing the S Bar Ranch in the Reconsideration Hearing and future litigation.
  • The Board of County Commissioner (BOCC): Wes Wooten, Bud Corbus and Al Hofer (recused) are the Elmore County Commissioners.

The Synopsis of the Document
In this linked and downloadable 17 page document, the law firm representing the S Bar Ranch refutes Cat Creek Energy’s negative analysis of the second reconsideration request regarding a large-scale alternative energy project that includes the imminent construction of a wind farm on the western portions of Camas Prairie in southern Idaho.

The text highlighted in red is the legal opinion and rebuttal from Hawley Troxell who represent the S Bar Ranch.

During an 11 am, May 18, 2018, meeting the Elmore County Commissioner will likely decide if they will hold a hearing, possibly limited to the amendments to the CUP contemplated by an unresolved Development Agreement to more fully address the concerns of S Bar Ranch.

Click to view or download this 17 page pdf document:  S Bar Ranch’s Rebuttal to Cat Creek Energy Document

View the Petition For Judicial Review – Lawsuit Complaint Document

The S Bar Ranch filed a lawsuit against Elmore County, Idaho on May 1, 2018. You can download and view this document through a link at the bottom of this post.

CCE Notice of Appeal sign
CCE’s Notice of Appeal sign is barely visible on Wood Creek Road off Highway 20.

A snippet from this petition for judicial review states:
11. Cat Creek appealed the Commission’s Decision to the Elmore County (“ County” )
Board of Commissioners (“ Board” ).
12. The Board held a hearing on the appeal of the Commission’s Decision on
November 16, 2016, at which time Cat Creek presented new evidence, for the first time, that
materially changed the CUPs, including a new master site plan.
13. This new evidence was not properly noticed as part of the hearing and S Bar
Ranch did not have a proper opportunity to respond to this new evidence.

Click here to download the pdf document  View the Petition For Judicial Review - Lawsuit Complaint

Download of a copy of the reconsideration hearing paperwork

A snippet of the April 31, 2018 document.

A snippet from this legal document:

“The basis for this Supplement to the Second Request for Reconsideration is failure of the
Elmore County Board of County Commissioners (Commissioners” ) and Elmore County
(County” ) in general, to comply with the requirements of the Local Land Use Planning Act, Idaho
Code Section 676501 …”

Click below to start the pdf download.

Supplement to Second Request for Reconsideration - filed April 31, 2018

Help Stop A Wind Farm On Camas Prairie, Idaho

Here is a 70-second video showing where Cat Creek Energy, LLC plans to build a wind farm on the western edge of Camas Prairie in southern Idaho in the coming months. We believe this wind farm will ruin the scenic value of the area, lead to a proliferation of more wind farms along the Highway 20 corridor and disrupt the migration patterns of the many elk that roam this portion of the state.

Please help us get word to the Elmore County Commissioners this wind farm is a bad idea.

Additionally, there is a reconsideration hearing on May 11, 2018, where the commissioner could reopen the discussion for the approval of Cat Creek Energy, LLC’s five conditional use permits (CUPs) for this project. We believe the permitting process was flawed and the approval process should be reopened. If you could attend this 1:30 pm meeting, it will make a big impression on the decision makers.

Commissioner Contact Information

Please share this video and post with your friends and neighbors if you oppose the construction of 31 oversized wind turbines on the road to Anderson Ranch Reservoir, Fairfield, Sun Valley and Craters of the Moon National Monument.




The CCE Wind Farm is “Out of Line” From Other Idaho Wind Farms

The proposed wind farm on the western fringes of Camas Prairie and in the scenic Cat Creek Summit area of Idaho’s Highway 20 is a departure from the standards used for other wind farms projects in our state.

The map below shows that all wind farms/turbines in Idaho are located along the Interstate 84 and Interstate 15 corridors. The Cat Creek Energy project could very well open up a whole new eye-sore corridor along Highway 20 and maybe even along the approaches to Anderson Ranch Reservoir on the Pine-Featherville Road.

Click on the map below for a larger version

2018 wind farm locations in Idaho and the proposed location of CCE wind farm.

Currently, the 588 wind turbines shown on the above map produce 1,026 megawatts of energy according to the United States Geologic Survey. That is enough energy to power over 750,000 households (1 megawatt – 750 households). As of the 2016 U.S. Census estimates, there were about 600,000 households in Idaho.

588 wind turbines already produce enough energy for more households than are located in Idaho.

Are you willing to hedge your bets and simply trust that this new Cat Creek Energy wind farm will not open up the floodgates for future projects up and down Highway 20 and other connecting corridors?

Get Involved

On May 11, 2018, at 1:30 pm, the Elmore County Commissioners will decide if they think they should take a better look at the process they used to approve this large-scale energy project and the 10,000 pages of evidence. Please contact the county commissioners ( to voice your opinion and if you have time, attend this critical meeting.


Last updated on April 27, 2018

Why Did The County P & Z Deny CCE, LLC Conditional Use Permits

An article from the Mountain Home News from Wednesday, July 27, 2016

County P&Z denies permits for alternative energy plan

Plans to build a large scale alternative energy project south of Anderson Ranch Reservoir remained in doubt after the county planning and zoning commission voted against recommending different aspects of the project during a meeting July 13.

At issue were five conditional use permits submitted by Cat Creek Energy LLC to build a combined pump storage hydroelectric, wind and solar energy facility that would be located south of Anderson Ranch Reservoir.

The initial permits were submitted in February 2015, but the county land use and building department didn’t consider the application “complete” until earlier this year.

The corporation’s plan is to generate enough energy for about 400,000 households within the Pacific Northwest and portions of the intermountain region. That energy could be routed over lines within the Bonneville Power Authority.

However, BPA officials stated at a public hearing in June that they are only in the initial stages of talks with Cat Creek on whether it will consider buying that energy. Local residents at that meeting were concerned that if the $1.5 billion project couldn’t sell the planned 550 megawatts of electrical power, the whole project might be abandoned, leaving the county to clean up afterward.

The five permits that Cat Creek Energy is asking the county to approve include construction of transmission lines, the hydro-electrical generating facility, a wind turbine electrical generating facility that would be widely spread across the project’s 23,000 of land and a 480-acre solar energy generating facility.

All those power generating facilities would be located in a less regulated agriculture area of the county. The exception is the pump storage hydroelectric facility, which would be located fully within a more restrictive county designated “area of critical concern.”

The CUP approval process moved forward during a meeting before the county planning and zoning commission June 15. At that hearing, commission members heard about three hours of public testimony from a host of Cat Creek officials and their consultants as well as a number of residents who opposed the project.

With the information gathered at that meeting, combined with more than 7,000 pages of documents already submitted, the planning and zoning department indicated they had enough information to discuss the issues and make a final decision on the five Cat Creek Energy CUPs at this month’s deliberation meeting.

During that meeting, the planning and zoning members were tasked with deciding if the energy project would comply with county ordinances plus provide their reasoning behind their decision.

With 12 different standards that had to be addressed for each CUP, the issues ranged widely, but the main issue the commission dealt with during the deliberations was deciding how harmoniously the project, if built out, would be with the current land use.

When asked if the project would meet county ordinances, comply with state and federal and be harmonious with current land use, the commission members unanimously voted that the project didn’t meet those conditions.

Offering his opinion, commission member Jeff Blanksma said the hydro facility was harmonious with the current land use because there are already two reservoirs in the immediate area. However, he added that the solar and wind turbines facilities would not be harmonious.

Commission member Dave Holland thought the solar power facility would be harmonious if Cat Creek Energy could build a hedge around the portion of the acreage that borders a nearby recreational vehicle park. However, he didn’t consider the wind power portion of the project as harmonious.

Meanwhile, commission member Edward Oppedyk said the proposed 914-acre reservoir would obviously change the entire landscape of the area. Later in the meeting, he indicated that the “change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

Commission member Sue Fish said the windmills would definitely negatively change the scenic beauty of the area. She also had concerns about the noise generated by pumping water up the 800-foot bluffs from Anderson Reservoir.

Commission member K.C. Duerig said the new reservoir would change the character of the immediate area, and both the solar and wind turbines would effect the visual beauty of the entire area.

Commission chairwoman Patti Osborn said the proposed reservoir and all the wind turbine towers would not be harmonious to the area. The second part of the process involved what each commission member thought Cat Creek Energy could do to mitigate the negative aspect of the project. Blanksma said there wasn’t anything the applicant could do to make the project fully harmonious with the current land use while Osborn said the location of the entire project probably makes it impossible to meet that requirement.

Duerig said Cat Creek should consider disguising the wind towers and placing them in locations where they would be less visible from people driving on Highway 20.

When the commission members were asked if the project would be hazardous or disturbing to neighbors, there were a wide variety of opinions voiced.

Duerig though that if the applicant planted hedges around the project, it would be harmless to any neighbors, including the nearby RV park. Osborn was quick to disagree with Duerig’s assessment.

Fish thought the solar project would be very disturbing to the RV park, but Holland said the harm to the park owner was just hearsay and never proven.

Oppedyk said the solar facility would disturb the RV park based strictly on the fact that the owner said it would be disturbing during testimony at the June 15 public meeting.

Originally posted on April 26, 2018