Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

Category Archives: Solar Complex

Will Local Tourism Dollars go Elsewhere Because of Cat Creek Energy?

Our local tourism industry will suffer because of the Cat Creek Energy project.

On February 10, 2017, the Elmore County Commissioner voted to approve five conditional use permits (CUPs) for the Cat Creek Energy mega-project. That approval went against the ruling of the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission who denied those same five permits to the Gooding-based company on July 13, 2016.

That unfortunate reversal quite possibly will damage our fledgling Elmore County tourism industry just when the city and others are looking to pour time and money into local tourism.

How Will Cat Creek Energy Damage Tourism?

During a public hearing on November 17, 2016, local resident, Nancy Thompson provided the following testimony:

Reference: Page 13 of the Petition for Judicial Review document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

 

Among several others who provided negative comments about the Project, Nancy Thompson, a resident of Mountain Home and the owner of a vacation home in the Featherville area, testified that she sits on the travel tourism committee, and is manager of the visitor’s center in Mountain Home.

She told the Commissioners that they get over 8,000 visitors every year, many from other countries, and they come to Idaho to see what the nature and the meaning of Idaho is about. Tourism brings about $7 million a year into Elmore County. They are sent on a scenic drive that is called the “Boise, Sun Valley Historic Loop Tour” that goes through Lowman, Idaho City, Stanley, Hailey, Fairfield, across the Camas Prairie, into Mountain Home and back to Boise.

They return to the center and comment on what a beautiful drive it is. She added: “I can’t imagine that I’m going to get the same kind of comments from these visitors when they come back to tell us what they’ve done when they cross up over the top of Cat Creek Summit and see wind turbines and solar panels. Ugly is as ugly does. You can’t make them beautiful. You can’t make them blend in.”

And under that glaring fact, we believe a judge will see that the county commissioner erred in approving the previously denied CUPs. We also believe the judge will remand the entire project back to the Director of the P&Z Commission.

You can download the entire 64 page “S Bar Ranch Petition for Judicial Review” document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. You should contact your elected officials. Begin with contacting County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at https://elmorecounty.org/contact/

or

See https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

 

Thanks.

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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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WHO’s Health Hazard Warning Prompts Demand for Immediate Wind Farm Moratorium

With Cat Creek Energy on the verge of getting final approval to build 39 wind turbines on Camas Prairie, the Elmore County Commissioners need to hear from you and all members of the public that you do not approve of this mega project in our backyard.

FYI:
1. 320-foot tall wind turbines are the type located just east of Mountain Home, Idaho and along the I-84 corridor.
2. 500-foot tall, space needle sized turbines were mentioned by the Cat Creek Energy developers.
3. BUT … state-of-the-art 780-foot tall turbines could be built on Camas Prairie. We just don’t know and we should by now.

Why?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a health hazard warning for critical noise threshold problems created by wind farms. WHO “found wind power turbines have the potential to cause serious health problems – including hearing loss, tinnitus, high blood pressure and even heart problems.

This type of continuous noise and racket in the middle of an elk, mule deer, and pronghorn migration corridor will create problems for decades to come. The wildlife could easily be pushed closer to vehicle traffic on Highway 20 and the Pine-Featherville Road. Or the herds of these majestic animals may just decide to move eastward and avoid the huge new turbines completely.

Will the big game herds that have thrived on Camas Prairie and GMU 44-45 be pushed east into Units 48 and 52 by the Cat Creek Energy project?

Cat Creek Energy hasn’t specified the type and size of wind towers they would use on Camas Prairie, even at this late date into the planning stages. We know John Faulkner has indicated he would like to see the 500-foot tall wind towers built along the Highway 20 corridor and the Pine-Featherville Road.

However, in Southern Austrailia, a developer is trying to fit out a wind farm with newly developed 240 meters (780 feet) tall towers. The local resident are firmly against that project, in part because of the noise hazard but also the sheer size of those monsters.

Choice Your Poison

The Cat Creek Energy project is bad for the wildlife and residents of Elmore County. The wind farm will change the migration patterns of our big game herds. The proposed 100,000 acre-foot reservoir will be bad for the local sage grouse population, plus has the potential to damage the fishery and water quality in Anderson Ranch Reservoir. The 590-acre solar farm will also change the migration patterns for deer, elk, and pronghorn. The huge electrical transmission lines that will be built across most of the Highway 20 and Pine-Featherville corridor will ruin what international tourism experts call “one of the best drives in Idaho.

Cat Creek Energy wants to give Elmore County citizens a project full of figurative poison. You just need to tell our elected officials you want nothing to do with that toxic mess Cat Creek Energy Project will leave for you and your grandchildren.

Reference: View or download the article HERE … Wind Turbine Time-Out: WHO’s Health Hazard Warning Demand for Wind Farm Moratorium or at the direct link found at http://catcreek-energy.com/download/721/

Link to elected officials who will listen to your opposition to the Cat Creek Energy projecthttp://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

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How Big Will the Cat Creek Solar Energy Complex Be?

At the intersection of Hwy 20 and Pine-Featherville Road.

By our calculations, the Cat Creek Energy solar complex will cover almost 590 acres and consist of 170,000 solar panels. It’s hard to imagine just how big 590-acres of elk, deer and pronghorn migration blocking territory that covers. And for many in Elmore County, Idaho, they do not realize where this huge fenced-in complex would be located.

How big is a 590 Acres Cat Creek Energy Solar Plant?

  • About 17 US Pentagon buildings would fit inside the fence of the solar complex of the Cat Creek Energy project.
  • It’s larger than the country of Monaco.
  • It’s about five times as big as Vatican City.
  • It’s about 150 times as big as The Biltmore Estate.
  • It’s about 400 times as big as The White House.

Map Link to the Location of the Solar Complex: https://goo.gl/maps/6ioxxAX7ciL2

What Can You Do to Help Stop This Project?

Write, call and email anyone and everyone listed HERE (http://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/) and tell them you are opposed to the Cat Creek Energy project. You can tell your friends, neighbors, and coworkers about the project and how they can help prevent a mega-energy project from ruining our Elmore County backcountry.

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