Many residents in Elmore County, Idaho still have doubts and questions pertaining to the Cat Creek Energy project. That proposed project is a four-tier plan involving a large solar and wind turbine complex along the Highway 20 corridor between Little Camas Prairie, Anderson Ranch Reservoir and Camas Prairie. The plan also involves creating a new 100,000 acre-foot reservoir on the bluffs above Anderson Ranch. Cat Creek Energy is planning to fill their proposed new reservoir with a non-existent water right from the South Fork of the Boise River. And that is where Idaho Power comes into the picture.
On June 8, 2020, Idaho Power filed a notice of protest with the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) regarding Cat Creek Energy’s concept for obtaining a new unappropriated water right in the South Fork of the Boise River Basin. That phantom new water right, in part, could be used to partially fill a new reservoir on Little Camas Prairie in Elmore County, Idaho.
The basis of the protest is highlighted below. In short, Idaho Power is telling the IDWR that Cat Creek Energy’s concept has not been sufficiently researched nor documented in order for Idaho Power officials to make an informed decision on the permits.
The way we are reading this protest is, Idaho Power doesn’t believe Cat Creek Energy’s proposed new unappropriated water right will have sufficient volume to fill the Cat Creek Reservoir. Cat Creek Energy officials have indicated that a full-pool is critical to the success of the project. Idaho Power also seems to be saying Cat Creek Energy doesn’t really have a plan but more like they are in the beginning stages of an idea company officials have locked inside their brains.
Many of us are tired of the effort to protect our interest when over the last six years Cat Creek Energy has not produced any definitive plans including location details, substantiated cost estimates, or proof of funding. These are all requirements for IDWR applications. Perhaps, more importantly, they have recently separated the four-tier projects completely and Cat Creek Energy is not going to utilize wind or solar power to operate their hydro-pump storage facility. They have also admitted that the originally submitted plan of pumping water out of Anderson Ranch Reservoir at night and generating power from the hydro-pump storage during the day will not be the rule.
From: Idaho Power Company
BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
OF THE STATE OF IDAHO
NOTICE OF PROTEST
IDAHO POWER COMPANY (the “Protestant”), by and through its attorneys of record,
files this Notice of Protest to the approval of Permit Number 63-34900 filed by
CAT CREEK ENERGY, LLC (the “Applicant”).
1. The applicant should be required to identify in each of the files within the Rule 40
submittal, the documents which support this application.
2. The application lacks specificity sufficient to evaluate the elements of the
proposed application in light of the criteria of Idaho Code §42-203A(5) and should be returned
and subject to refiling upon additional facts supporting the application be submitted.
3. To the extent the basis for this application are documents already submitted in the
Applicant’s sharefile, the Applicant has failed to demonstrate that unappropriated water supply is
available for the diversion of water under this application. Specifically, the hydrology supporting
the application and the availability of unappropriated water doesn’t support the proposed
quantities and volumes
4. Pursuant to Idaho Code § 42-1737, the Applicant must obtain the approval of the
Idaho Water Resource Board. It is unclear to the Protestant whether this approval shall be a part of
this application, supplemental to this contested action or subject to a separate proceeding wherein
the Protestant’s interests may be protected.
5. Applicant’s proposed place of use lacks sufficient detail to determine actual place of
6. For such other and further reasons as may be discovered or set forth at the hearing
on this matter.
DATED this 8th day of June 2020.
BARKER ROSHOLT & SIMPSON LLP
John K. Simpson
Attorneys for Idaho Power Company