(Last updated on February 5, 2022) The developers of the Cat Creek Energy (CCE) Project seem to be trying to tell authorities their project is so inconsequential and simple they should be allowed to move forward without doing the required studies and research necessary to prevent environmental damage around a large section of land just 2o miles northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho.
In response to CCE’s attempt to sneak out on doing the right thing for the residents of Idaho, the City of Boise wrote a letter telling the regulatory agency that there is much concern about the entire project. Read the full letter below.
“Many People Think the Cat Creek Energy Project Deserves More Scrutiny, Not Less Scrutiny”
The proposed location of the Cat Creek Energy Project
Some of the facts about this complex project
- The Cat Creek Energy project isn’t simple. It’s a complex project that will greatly affect lands within Elmore County.
- Constructing the proposed Cat Creek Reservoir will entail also building a powerhouse, transmission infrastructure, transporting equipment, building new roads, and permanently disrupting a water supply diversion will surely degrade the environment and wildlife habitat of deer and elk within game Management Units 39, 43, 44 and 45.
- The Cat Creek Energy project is controversial despite what the developers want you to believe. There are fifteen organizations/entities that have submitted documentation and data opposing the CCE water rights applications to Idaho’s Department of Water Resources to divert 100,000 acre-feet of water out of the Anderson Ranch Reservoir. By definition, that makes it controversial.
- Cat Creek Energy falsely insists the studies that will be completed by the US Government for the proposed plan to raise Anderson Ranch Reservoir by 6 feet will answer some or even all of the environmental issues facing the Cat Creek Energy project. It can’t and it won’t because they are completely different projects.
A City of Boise Letter About a Complex Project
Submission Date: 1/31/2021
From: Mary R Grant, Boise Deputy City Attorney
On behalf of the City of Boise (City), we submit these comments in response to the request by Cat Creek Energy (CCE) to utilize the Traditional Licensing Process (TLP) for licensing this project. For FERC’s consideration as to whether the TLP is appropriate, rather than the default Integrated Licensing Process (ILP), we offer the following:
1. Likelihood of timely license issuance: No comment.
2. Complexity of the resource issues: CCE states they have conducted extensive research and data collection on potential resource issues and intend to use the Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) Anderson Ranch Dam raise feasibility study and EIS as supporting documentation of resource issues. CCE acknowledged in the transmittal letter that the project is large but believes the resource issues and environmental impacts in the area qualify as minor. The City disagrees that the impact on resources and the environment in the project area qualify as minor. A project of this nature and scale is inherently complex. Constructing a new reservoir with powerhouse and transmission infrastructure, transporting equipment, building new roads, and permanently disrupting a water supply diversion is dramatically different than raising an existing dam 6 feet as Reclamation is proposing. The City is concerned that much of the information provided in the recent past (of the studies noted above) is research and data that has only limited applicability and relevance to the extent and nature of this specific project.
3. Level of anticipated controversy: CCE indicated a level of coordination with local, state, and federal agencies and stakeholders that would represent this project as having a low level of controversy. The City is one of fifteen original protestants of the CCE water right applications to Idaho’s Department of Water Resources to divert 100,000 acre-feet of water out of the Anderson Ranch Reservoir, suggesting otherwise. These protestants include state and local agencies, irrigation districts and canal companies, environmental groups, and individual water rights holders on the Boise River. Such a broad group of protestants with varied interests and concerns demonstrates the complexity of this large surface water storage project and its potential impacts.
4. Relative cost of the TLP compared to the ILP: No comment.
5. The amount of available information and potential for significant disputes over studies: CCE specifically notes their intent to rely on Reclamation’s feasibility study and EIS as supporting study and data collection for their project in addition to their own research. Again, the City points out that Reclamation’s project and CCE’s project are significantly different in scope and operation, with considerable differences in the magnitude of expected impacts. Reclamation’s feasbility and EIS will shed light on the types of issues to be expected with CCE’s proposed project but should not be used in lieu of a comprehensive suite of project-specific studies to identify a complete list of impacts and the magnitude of those impacts.
6. Other factors believed to be pertinent: The City is supportive of clean energy projects in the Treasure Valley and across the West. We believe that is the future of energy production. However, these projects must be accomplished while also protecting and enhancing the environmental resources along the Boise River and within this watershed.
We are available for further comment or clarification by contacting 208-608-7950.
Deputy City Attorney
cc: John Roldan, Water Resources Manager
Originally published on February 5, 2022.
We believe the entire Cat Creek Energy project needs to be significantly scaled back or canceled altogether.