The story of the five Cat Creek Energy conditional use permits (CUPs) that John Faulkner applied for in 2015 gets lost in the grand scheme of his ill-conceived project. However, the fact that Cat Creek Energy sold their five-part mega-energy project as one complete project to the residents of Elmore County and many other entities is crucial to understand.
The Elmore County P & Z entire hearing and deliberation process was based on Cat Creek Energy’s insistence that the entire mega-project had to be approved as one. Cat Creek repeatedly said, if all five permits were not approved, their project would not be economically viable and they’d have to cancel it.
In 2017, the Cat Creek developers convinced the Elmore County Commissioners that all five CUPs were no longer required in order to build out their mega-energy project. In other words, all those residents who said:
“Cat Creek will never get state or federal approval for the reservoir or sprawling wind farm so we don’t need to even worry about the project being ever approved,” were fooled by our elected officials.
Well, guess what? The County Commissioners, by separating all the CUPs, has made it possible for Cat Creek Energy to build what they want, where they want and when they want and the residents never had any input into that huge modification in the Master Site Plan.
When the S Bar Ranch filed a Petition for Judicial Review on March 7, 2019, with the district court, they highlighted this fact for Judge Nancy Baskin to consider. We hope the honorable judge will see this lack of public oversight and remand the entire project back to the Director of the P&Z Commission. Only then will the county residents be able to provide proper feedback to these local decision-makers.
Reference: See Page 8 after download the full petition at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/
“The P&Z Commission found that “five (5) separate applications, each for a conditional use permit are required.” The P&Z Commission further found that “based on testimony from the Applicant, all five (5) applications are dependent upon each other and cannot exist separately.”
Therefore the Commission conducted only one (1) public hearing and issued only one (1) decision on the Applications.” The Commission found that the
“Owners” of the Site are Sawtooth Grazing Association and Wood Creek Ranch, both at 1989 South 1875 East, Gooding, ID 83330 and that the Applicant’s property right in the Site is based on lease agreements. The property size is approximately 23,000 acres, all of which is owned or controlled by John Faulkner.
The Commission found that the applicable law for consideration of the Applications was:
A) the Elmore County 2014 Comprehensive Plan, adopted as Resolution 562–15 on January 20, 2014 (the “Comprehensive Plan”);
B) Zoning Ordinance, adopted March 21, 2012, as Ordinance
2012–01; which was subsequently amended on September 19, 2012, as Ordinance 2012–03 and on July 14, 2014, As Ordinance 2014–01; and
C) the Local Land Use Planning Act, I.C. § 67–6501 et seq. [Exh. 4 at R. 007297–007298] ”
If you have concerns about the Cat Creek Energy project, please contact your elected officials and tell them you oppose the entire project and why.
Here is a link with many of the people you might want to contact: https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/
Also, please share this post with friend, family, and co-workers so they also understand how horrible the Cat Creek Energy project will be for Elmore County.
Originally published on March 19, 2019.