Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

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Idaho Fish and Game are Concerned About Cat Creek Energy

By Brambleshire – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17074506

The below copy/paste is a legal document submitted to the Idaho Department of Water Resources by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game regarding Cat Creek Energy’s plan to build out a four-stage power generation complex in and around Anderson Ranch Reservoir and Camas Prairie in Elmore County, Idaho.  

The Fish and Game argument is that Cat Creek Energy hasn’t provided their agency enough detailed information about their plans for the power generation complex for Fish and Game to do their due diligence. We think the Idaho Fish and Game petition for clarification is spot on.

Heck, the residents of Idaho don’t know enough about the Cat Creek Energy proposal and it’s beginning to look like they don’t want us to know. 


Source: https://catcreek-energy.com/download/1039/

From: Attorneys for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game

 

BEFORE THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES OF THE STATE OF IDAHO

IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR PERMIT NOS. 63-34403, 63-34652, 63-34900,

AND 63-34987 (Cat Creek Energy LLC)

PETITION FOR CLARIFICATION

 

COMES NOW, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (“IDFG”) pursuant to IDAPA 37.01.01.260, .513, .710–.711, .770, hereby petitions for clarification of the Amended Order Consolidating Dockets and Parties; Order to Reorganize Applicant’s Rule 40.05 Information; Order Establishing Protective Order Procedure; Order Authorizing Discovery; Notice of Continued Prehearing Conference (“Amended Order”) dated June 10, 2020 with regard the scope of discovery authorized for the consolidated docket.

The Amended Order consolidates the two new Applications for Permit Nos. 63- 34900 and 63-34987 with Applications for Permit Nos. 63-34403 and 63-34652. Amended Order at 2. The Amended Order states: “Applications for Permit 63-34403, 63-34652, 63- 34900, and 63-34987 will now proceed as one consolidated contested case.” Id. The Order makes  clear  that:  “All  parties  (whether  protestant  or  intervenor) to this docket are recognized as parties to the consolidated contested case without additional procedure, protest, or intervention.” Id. The Amended Order also authorized all parties to “immediately conduct and engage in discovery pursuant to IDAPA 37.01.01.521.” Id.

 The Rules of Procedure for IDWR provide that discovery will be governed by the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure, unless otherwise provided by “statute, rules, order or notice.” IDAPA 37.01.01.520.02. The IDWR Rules also provide that discovery may include: “depositions, productions requests or written interrogatories, requests for admission, subpoenas, and statutory inspection, examination (including physical or mental examination, investigation, etc.” IDAPA 37.01.01.520.01. The Amended Order did not provide notice that procedures other than I.R.C.P. should apply in this case, nor did it otherwise limit the types of discovery that could be conducted. Therefore, discovery in this matter should be conducted as set forth in the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure.

Clarification is needed, however, with regard to the effect the order consolidating the four applications into “one consolidated contested case” will have on the scope of discovery. Amended Order at 2. Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 33(1) provides: “Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court for good cause allowing a specific additional number of interrogatories, a party may serve on any other party no more than 40 written interrogatories, including all discreet subparts.” Thus, under I.R.C.P. 33(1) and absent the consolidation order, the parties would have had the opportunity to posit forty interrogatories for each application. The Amended Order leaves open the question of whether, after consolidation, the parties will be limited to forty interrogatories total or whether they may serve forty interrogatories for each separate application.

As noted in the Amended Order, the initial purpose of consolidation in this matter was to recognize “all parties (whether protestant or intervenor)” to one application as being parties “to the consolidated contested case docket without additional procedure, protest, or intervention.” Amended Order at 2. IDFG did not contemplate consolidation for these purposes would translate into a limitation of its ability to conduct discovery under each of the applications separately. The Rule 40.05 Information provided by applicants in its Notice of Amended Rule 40.05 Disclosure dated June 16, 2020 provides only a fraction of the information that IDFG needs to evaluate the impacts of the water use proposed under the applications. There are a multitude of factual questions that still remain with regard to the proposed applications. While the applications are certainly interrelated, a cursory look at the elements of each makes clear that they cover distinctly different beneficial uses. Application 63-34403 will cover a 100,000 acre-foot pump-storage hydropower project. Application 63-34652 will cover 30,000 acre-feet of storage for downstream consumptive uses within the service areas of Suez Water Idaho Inc., Pioneer Irrigation District, and the City of Meridian. Application  63-34897  will cover  31,000  acre-feet of downstream consumptive uses for the City of Nampa, Black Canyon Irrigation District, and Wood Creek Ranch (this application also includes 120.2 cfs of natural flow diversion from the South Fork of the Boise for new and supplemental consumptive irrigation use on 6010 acres owned by Wood Creek Ranch). Application 63-34900 covers 19,000 acre-feet of downstream consumptive uses by beneficial users that have not yet been identified. Even this simple overview illustrates that the beneficial uses proposed by the applications necessitate individualized discovery tailored to the individualized facts of each application.

Indeed, Cat Creek itself recognizes that the Rule 40.05 information it has provided is not “a detailed explanation of every minute detail of its project or financing plans” nor does it “introduce every item of evidence that the applicant may introduce at trial.” Cat Creek’s expectation is that details “may be fleshed out through discovery and motion practice as in any other adjudicative case.” Notice of Amended Rule 40.05 Disclosure at 7. Cat Creek points out that “[a]ll parties are well-equipped to propound discovery requests to address matters for which questions exists [sic] or additional details are sought.”  Id.

 Given Cat Creek’s recognition that discovery will play an important role in further developing the factual record in this matter, IDFG’s concern that many of the details it needs to conducts its effects analysis are still missing, and the overall magnitude of the project being proposed, it does not make sense to unduly limit the parties ability to conduct discovery in this matter. Therefore, IDFG respectfully requests clarification of the Amended Order to the effect that the parties may conduct discovery to the full extent allowed by IDAPA 37.01.01.520.02 and the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure for each application and that the limits on interrogatories set forth in I.R.C.P. 33(1) will apply to each application individually and not to the four applications as a whole.

 

DATED this 24th  of June, 2020.

 

signed

ANN Y. VONDE
Deputy Attorney General


If you oppose the construction of a large scale power generating complex on the bluffs above Anderson Ranch Reservoir and Camas Prairie, northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho, please contact the Elmore County Commissioner and let them know. 

Quick County Commission Phone Listing …
Al Hofer 208-599-1620
Chairman Wes Wooten 208-599-3131
Bud Corbus 208-599-1294

or https://elmorecounty.org/contact/

 

Thanks.

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Are Hunters Opposed to the Cat Creek Energy Project?

The Cat Creek area provides habitat for an assortment of native wildlife. The project area lies within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn moving from high elevation summer habitats to low elevation winter range and back. While the exact pathways and magnitude of the migration has not been quantified, several thousand animals likely use this corridor on an annual basis. Data from elk and mule deer radio-marked during winter in 2015 and 2016 confirmed, considerable seasonal movements through the project area. Energy development has the potential to disrupt these movements.~ The Feb. 1, 2016, Idaho Fish & Game response to the Cat Creek Energy project

Considering the Cat Creek Energy project will consist of wind, solar and hydroelectric “Energy Development,” and that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IF&G) said the project could disrupt elk and deer migration, hunters and all who enjoy the Elmore County backcountry should be opposed to it.

 

Elk and Deer Herds are Back

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game just releases their 2018 big game harvest report. Things have recently been looking good for elk and deer hunters with harvest numbers remaining above or near 2017 numbers.

Hunters took more mule deer and fewer white-tailed deer in 2018 compared to 2017, while the elk harvest was similar between the two years — dropping by less than 2 percent from 2017 to 2018.

The 2018 elk harvest was about 15.4 percent above the 10-year average. White-tailed deer harvest dipped in 2018 compared to 2017, but gains in the mule deer harvest – largely from spike and two-point bucks – brought the overall deer harvest for 2018 above that of 2017.

 

Migration Corridor

The planned Cat Creek Energy project would consist of a 590 acre solar plant and a 1,140 acre wind farm in the Cat Creek Summit area, plus a 2,000 acre reservoir on Little Camas Prairie. IF&G said “the project area lies within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn moving from high elevation summer habitats to low elevation winter range and back. While the exact pathways and magnitude of the migration has not been quantified, several thousand animals likely use this corridor on an annual basis.”

Will the migration patterns be disrupted?

 

So, Yes … hunters and backcountry enthusiast should research how this mega-energy project will adversely affect hunting and wildlife in GMU’s 43, 44 and 45 over the lifetime of this ill-conceived project.

Many hunters and local residents have already voiced their concerns and publicly stated their opposition to the Cat Creek Energy project.

How do you stand on this issue?

 

References

 

Please help us get the word out about how bad this project will be for the residents of Elmore County. There are much better locations to site this project where it won’t ruin the viewshed and our hunting heritage.

Share this post with your friends, family, and co-workers.

 

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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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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

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