Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

Category Archives: Reservoir

Why Did Cat Creek Energy Decide to Unlink the Project Permits?

All five conditional use permits need to be approved to make the Cat Creek Energy project financially viable.” – Creek Creek Energy Spokesman in 2016

Throughout the permitting process, almost every Cat Creek Energy spokesman testified that all five parts of the project needed to be approved or they couldn’t move forward. The permitting process started in 2015 and ended in 2018.

What We Heard:

They’ll never get federal approval for the power lines in sage grouse territory or water rights for their proposed Cat Creek Reservoir.” – Many people who attended the 2016 and 2017 CUP approval hearings.

 

In 2018, after the Elmore County Commissioners surprisingly approved the five conditional use permits, Cat Creek Energy decided the project really might be financially viable with only a portion (huge wind farm or 590-acre solar plant) getting built out. It’s almost like Cat Creek Energy intended to pull the wool over our eyes while getting the county to approve their mega energy project.

 

Water Rights Problem

Cat Creek Energy has run into significant headwinds in obtaining water rights for their proposed reservoir on Little Camas Prairie. About 20 different private and governmental entities filed separate objections and protests to Cat Creek Energy’s water right permit application they filed with the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR). Elmore County “was” one of those entities that objected to Cat Creek getting their hands on Anderson Ranch Reservoir water.

It’s Unacceptable

We find it suspicious that Cat Creek Energy LLC suddenly found financial viability in a piecemeal approach to their mega-energy complex after the commissioners approved the project and years of saying the CUPs needed to be linked.

We find it wholly unacceptable that Elmore County would allow the project to move forward knowing that the Gooding County-based corporation likely knew they’d never get federal approval for the “pump storage hydro” portion of the project and likely will never get the water rights from Anderson Ranch Reservoir either.

We expect the Elmore County Commissioners to postpone any further approvals of the Cat Creek Energy project until the conditional use permits are once again linked together.

Why? Many residents believed the project would never be able to move forward as a complete project and stopped testifying and paying attention. We’re still paying attention, however.

Reference: Elmore County, Idaho Conditional Use Permits for the Cat Creek Energy Project.

  • CUP-2015-03 / Transmission Lines
  • CUP-2015-04 / Pump Storage Hydro- Electrical Generating Facility
  • CUP-2015-05 / Solar – Electrical Generating Facility)
  • CUP-2015-06 / Wind – Electrical Generating Facility)
  • CUP-2015-07 / Electrical Substation

 

Take Action: Write a letter to the Elmore County Commissioners.

  • Tell them the Cat Creek Energy Project is bad for Elmore County’s big game herds.
  • Tell them Elmore County needs to control our own destiny when it comes to “domestic water issues.”
  • Tell them to relink all five Conditional Use Permits like was originally agreed upon.
  • Tell them our tourism industry will never get established with an industrialized energy complex in our wild and scenic backcountry.

 

Address your letter to:

Elmore County Land Use and Building Department
ATTN: Cat Creek Energy Project
520 East 2nd South Street
Mountain Home, Idaho, 83647

 

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Did You Know: The Proposed Power Infrastructure for Cat Creek Reservoir

  • The proposed powerhouse would house twelve 60 MW ternary turbines.
  • The powerhouse would also house additional pump facilities which would utilize the same penstocks feeding the turbine/generators to lift the stored water 840 feet from Anderson Ranch Reservoir for storage in the new Cat Creek Reservoir on Little Camas Prairie.
  • The penstocks would be six 14-16 ft diameter steel pipelines each 2,500 feet long.

Reference: Cat-Creek-Energy-FERC-Application-Nov2018.pdf at … Cat Creek Energy FERC Application - Nov 2018 or at the direct link at http://catcreek-energy.com/download/743/

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14 Dec. 2018 Public Hearing to Amend the Cat Creek Energy Development Agreement

Can you attend?

The Elmore County Commissioners have scheduled a public hearing in our county courthouse at 1:30 p.m. On Friday, December 14, 2018. The purpose of the hearing is to gather testimony regarding two possible amendment issues involving the development agreement between the county and Cat Creek Energy, LLC.

The complexity and unknowns involving this possible Cat Creek Energy mega-project continue to grow. And now the county commissioners and the Gooding, Idaho based corporation want to discuss amending a portion of an agreement they signed on February 9, 2018.

NOTE: Public testimony will be accepted at this hearing. We hope opponents of the Cat Creek Energy project will attend this meeting or provide written testimony prior to the hearing.

What are the Amendment Issue Options?

Officially, Elmore County indicates the two possibilities are:

1) Extend the period of time for Cat Creek Energy, LLC to enter into an agreement with Elmore County regarding the diversion and delivery of water

Or …

2) Amend the diversion and delivery of water for Elmore County.

More Information?

As of the publish date of this blog post/Facebook post, we don’t have the amendment wording that the commissioners and Cat Creek Energy will be discussing at this hearing.

Hopefully, Elmore County will release the proposed amendment wording early enough to allow our citizens time to read, research and craft an educated rebuttal.

Take Action Today

Even though we don’t have any information regarding how Cat Creek Energy would like to amend the diversion and delivery of water agreement from Anderson Ranch Reservoir to Little Camas Reservoir, we believe contacting your elected officials would be helpful.

You can call the two Elmore County Commissioners who will make the decision whether to allow the Cat Creek Energy project to move forward.

Commissioner Wes Wootan (208)599-3131

Commissioner Bud Corbus: (208) 599-1294

FYI: Commissioner Hofer has been recused from any decision making authority on the Cat Creek Energy project.

Anyone who wishes to testify, but is unable to attend the 1:30 p.m., Friday, December 14, 2018, hearing, may submit written testimony prior to the hearing by sending it to the:

Elmore County Land Use and Building Department
520 East 2nd South Street
Mountain Home, Idaho, 83647

You should also consider contacting other elected official listed on the webpage:

Mailing Addresses for Cat Creek Energy Issues

Reference: “Dec 14, 2018, Public Hearing Notice – Cat Creek Energy Development Agreement” that can be viewed or downloaded HERE Dec 14, 2018 Public Hearing Notice - Cat Creek Energy Development Agreement or at the direct link found at http://catcreek-energy.com/download/731/

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“Transmission Lines Would Run From the Southern Shore” …

What the Anderson Ranch Reservoir view might look like when the Cat Creek Energy project is finished.

Elmore County’s own engineering study said this of the Cat Creek Energy project:

“Very limited information on the electrical line from the powerhouse to the
substation is presented. Voltage and construction information are absent. We surmise this line (34kV?) would run from the southern shoreline of Anderson Ranch Reservoir, ascend to the canyon rim through open forest habitat and then cross mixed grass land and shrub steppe to the substation. The line has the potential to cause a number of impacts to wildlife which would need to be addressed.”

In 2016, the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Board said the the vast majority of the project was “Not Compatible” with the surrounding environment when they denied Cat Creek Energy the permits to build a large-scale energy project in our backcountry.

Who hasn’t fished, boated, camped or driven along Anderson Ranch Reservoir? I can’t imaging anyone in Elmore County that hasn’t been along the shores of our finest body of water. This is what Cat Creek Energy considers “compatible” with the surroundings?

Take Action

Call, write to and/or email your government representatives and tell them you are opposed to the entire Cat Creek Energy project.

or, be bold and write a letter to:

Cat Creek Energy LLC
398 S. 9th St., Ste 240
Boise, ID 853701

List of addresses: http://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

Reference: Attachment 2 found at Attachment 2 - Independent Review of the Cat Creek Energy Wildlife Management Plan

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Can Cat Creek Energy be Trusted With Anderson Ranch Reservoir Water?

Yikes! Cat Creek Energy – A Problem, Not a Solution!

In a document published on Feb. 1, 2016, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game said the following of Cat Creek Energy’s plan to keep a new reservoir on Little Camas Prairie filled and functional with Anderson Ranch Reservoir and South Fork of the Boise River water:

“The rapid dewatering of ARR (Anderson Ranch Reservoir) in late summer/early fall already stall kokanee escapement into the SFBR until the mud flat delta stabilizes. Kokanee are vulnerable to predation and delayed during this time. It is likely a daily 2+ foot fluctuation will exacerbate this problem and potentially strand kokanee.”

Reference: See page 4 from this downloadable pdf document – Idaho Fish and Game on the Cat Creek Energy Project - Feb. 1, 2016

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Who Doesn’t Want Cat Creek Energy to get Rights to Anderson Ranch Reservoir Water?

In May 2017, Cat Creek Energy, LLC applied to draw 101,000 acre-feet of water from the South Fork of the Boise River water basin. This water would actually be pumped up to a new reservoir on Little Camas Prairie from Anderson Ranch Reservoir via a series of penstocks located across the lake from Evans Creek Campground.

Anderson Ranch Reservoir, 2018.

This proposed new reservoir, Cat Creek Reservoir, is scheduled to be built just one mile or so north of Little Camas Reservoir and very close to three possible greater sage grouse nesting grounds, called a “lek.”

September 24, 2018, marked the deadline for individuals, groups and even other government agencies to file a protest against Cat Creek Energy’s water permit with the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR). By that deadline, 19 protests were filed against that water permit application.

Who Are Those 19 Protesters?

Here are just some of the names:

  1. The Boise office of the Bureau of Reclamation (https://www.usbr.gov/).
  2. The Idaho Conservation League (https://www.idahoconservation.org/).
  3. The Boise Project Board of Control (www.boiseproject.net/index.php?pg=about).
  4. SUEZ Water Idaho, Inc. (https://www.mysuezwater.com/idaho/about-us).
  5. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (https://idfg.idaho.gov/).
  6. The City of Boise City (https://www.cityofboise.org/).
  7. A consortium of water related companies and irrigation districts that include: Ballentyne Ditch Company, Boise Valley Irrigation Ditch Company, Canyon County Water Company, Eureka Water Company, Farmers’ Co-operative Ditch Company, Middleton Mill Ditch Company, Middleton Irrigation Association, Inc., Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District, New Dry Creek Ditch Company, Pioneer Ditch Company, Pioneer Irrigation District, Settlers Irrigation District, South Boise Water Company, and Thurman Mill Ditch Company.
  8. S Bar Ranch (Facebook @SBarRanch or https://www.facebook.com/SBarRanch/)

Again this is just eight of the 19 entities that filed a protest for many different and various legal/practical reasons.

These 19 protest letters filed with the Idaho Department of Water Resources tells us that the Cat Creek Energy pumped-storage hydroelectric facility is an ill-conceived plan.

IDFG is concerned that the requested water diversion and associated hydroelectric project could adversely affect important public fisheries and Endangered Species Act protected bull trout populations within affected river and reservoir reaches of the Boise River system.~ Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Reference: Water-Permit-Protests-CatCreekEnergyOct2018.pdf at http://catcreek-energy.com/download/658/

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Results From the Oct. 5, 2018 Cat Creek Energy Public Hearing

If the Cat Creek Energy project gets approved, this is what you can expect to see on Little Camas Prairie.

A public hearing regarding the Cat Creek Energy and Elmore County Development Agreement was held on Friday, October 5, 2018. However, Cat Creek Energy lawyers and the county commissioners could not come to a satisfactory agreement over water issues and Cat Creek bowed out of this public hearing that they requested in September 2018.

With Cat Creek Energy withdrawing their draft amendment to the development agreement, the Elmore County Commissioners decided there was no reason to take public testimony on the issue. Chairman Wes Wootan and Commissioner Corbus voted to close out the public hearing immediately following a quick briefing by Buzz Grant, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) legal counsel.

Mr. Grant indicated that Cat Creek Energy is aware that the incomplete Development Agreement needs to be finalized by December 31, 2018, or the conditional use permit for at least one portion of the mega-project will expire and be null and void.

The county fully expects Cat Creek Energy representatives will come back to the negotiating table in the future. Concerned citizens, the S Bar Ranch, and many others are closely monitoring all the shenanigans and legal maneuvering of Cat Creek Energy, LLC and will continue to post updates both on this website and on our Facebook page at @SbarRanch / https://www.facebook.com/SBarRanch/

Please help us get the word out by sharing this blog and/or Facebook posts.

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