The Elmore County Commissioner held two hearings regarding the Cat Creek Energy project on August 24, 2018. The commissioners did not come to any decision about either of these very complex issues during this Friday afternoon meeting.
The First Hearing
The first hearing was the “Amendment to the Development Agreement Relative to Five Different Cat Creek Energy, LLC Conditional Use Permits (CUP).” This was the longer of the two hearings and the only individuals offering public testimony where the lawyers for the county, S Bar Ranch, and Cat Creek Energy.
Commissioners Wootan and Corbus dismissed, out of hand, the S Bar Ranch’s “Notice of Objections” claim. Both the county lawyer and the lawyer for the project said neither of the commissioners will personally benefit from Elmore County accepting water from the Cat Creek Energy hydro portion of the project.
We disagree with that opinion.
Cat Creek Energy indicated that all negotiations surrounding the development agreement were conducted with complete transparency. However, Commissioner Corbus did say the newly proposed agreement on precisely what the county would pay for water delivered to them is different than what most residents heard during the 2016 approval meetings. Corbus indicated he wasn’t happy with that turn of events.
In short, the county will pay Cat Creek Energy for the operations and maintenance costs of drawing water from Anderson Ranch Reservoir and pumping it into Little Camas Reservoir. Corbus said “operations and maintenance” cost is too broad of a description and could leave the county open to very high-cost water deliveries.
The Decision: As is the case with a public hearing like this, the commissioner deliberations and ultimately, a decision whether to approve the proposed amendment to the Development Agreement, will occur in two weeks or tentatively at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, September 7, 2018.
NOTE: It is highly unlikely that the commissioners will accept new public testimony on this issue. But, at the time, the commissioners did not state definitively that no further testimony would or could be accepted.
The Second Hearing – The Rehearing Deliberations
Deliberations and a decision on the Cat Creek Energy Rehearing stemming from the public hearing on July 26, 2018 was kicked down the road for two weeks. You can read about that issues by downloading the county documentation at http://catcreek-energy.com/download/234/
Commission Corbus indicated he wanted more time to read the large amount of “just dumped in his lap” information regarding the testimony from that July 26 public hearing.
We believe asking the residents for time to consider all testimony was a prudent move. The Cat Creek Energy team did not appear to appreciate this delay but Corbus did the correct thing … right?
The Decision: First things first … the commissioners will not accept any further public testimony on this issue. That was stated rather clearly at the hearing.
The commissioner’s deliberations and decision on this issue will occur at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, September 7, 2018, in the basement of the Elmore County Courthouse located at 150 South 4th East St, Mountain Home, ID 83647. Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/6YZFedg4Sgn