Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

Tag Archives: Solar Complex

Will Local Tourism Dollars go Elsewhere Because of Cat Creek Energy?

Our local tourism industry will suffer because of the Cat Creek Energy project.

On February 10, 2017, the Elmore County Commissioner voted to approve five conditional use permits (CUPs) for the Cat Creek Energy mega-project. That approval went against the ruling of the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission who denied those same five permits to the Gooding-based company on July 13, 2016.

That unfortunate reversal quite possibly will damage our fledgling Elmore County tourism industry just when the city and others are looking to pour time and money into local tourism.

How Will Cat Creek Energy Damage Tourism?

During a public hearing on November 17, 2016, local resident, Nancy Thompson provided the following testimony:

Reference: Page 13 of the Petition for Judicial Review document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

 

Among several others who provided negative comments about the Project, Nancy Thompson, a resident of Mountain Home and the owner of a vacation home in the Featherville area, testified that she sits on the travel tourism committee, and is manager of the visitor’s center in Mountain Home.

She told the Commissioners that they get over 8,000 visitors every year, many from other countries, and they come to Idaho to see what the nature and the meaning of Idaho is about. Tourism brings about $7 million a year into Elmore County. They are sent on a scenic drive that is called the “Boise, Sun Valley Historic Loop Tour” that goes through Lowman, Idaho City, Stanley, Hailey, Fairfield, across the Camas Prairie, into Mountain Home and back to Boise.

They return to the center and comment on what a beautiful drive it is. She added: “I can’t imagine that I’m going to get the same kind of comments from these visitors when they come back to tell us what they’ve done when they cross up over the top of Cat Creek Summit and see wind turbines and solar panels. Ugly is as ugly does. You can’t make them beautiful. You can’t make them blend in.”

And under that glaring fact, we believe a judge will see that the county commissioner erred in approving the previously denied CUPs. We also believe the judge will remand the entire project back to the Director of the P&Z Commission.

You can download the entire 64 page “S Bar Ranch Petition for Judicial Review” document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. You should contact your elected officials. Begin with contacting County Commissioners Bud Corbus, Wes Wootan and Al Hofer and tell them you are opposed to this ill-conceived mega-energy project.

You can use the county website “Contact Form” at https://elmorecounty.org/contact/

or

See https://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/

 

Thanks.

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Will Highway 20 Become the Next Wind Turbine Corridor?

Is this the future of Highway 20? We hope not.

The segment of Highway 20 that Roger Brooks, an international tourism expert called “one of the best drives in Idaho” could easily become the next wind turbine corridor in the state.

That segment of highway Rogers Brooks was referring to, runs from just north of Mountain Home to Camas Prairie and into our mountain communities of Pine and Featherville.

Cat Creek Energy already has plans to put up forty, 500+ foot tall wind turbines along Cat Creek Summit and partially down the Pine-Featherville Road. We also know that Cat Creek is having troubles getting federal approval for the Pumped Storage Hydroelectric project on the bluffs above and interconnected with Anderson Ranch Reservoir. The developers have stated many times in the past that all three portions of their mega-energy project need to be approved to make it financially viable. If Cat Creek cannot get state or federal approval for the hydroelectric portion, they will likely have to make up for the megawatt shortage by putting up additional wind turbines along Highway 20.

Wind Power Friendly California Rebels Against New Turbines

According to an article on the Daily Wire website (https://www.dailywire.com/news/44146/b-b-climate-change-california-county-kills-plans-paul-bois), the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted to ban the construction of large solar and wind farms on more than 1 million acres of private land.

Local residents say that solar and wind farms destroy areas like Dagget, Joshua Tree and Lucerne Valley by turning the landscape into eyesores. Sara Fairchild, a resident of Pioneertown, has been working to have California Highway 247 turned into a designated state scenic highway to boost the local economy; she says that would all fall apart in the face of a mega solar farm.”

The local San Bernardino government listened to residents when they asked for a moratorium on new wind and solar farms in the rural parts of the county. Basically, the people said why grow wind and solar farms when we can grow a more profitable tourism industry that won’t destroy the scenery.

What they actually said was basically the same thing opponents to the Cat Creek Energy project are saying.

These vast open areas are precious for their natural, historical and recreational qualities. But they are fragile, and no amount of mitigation can counter the damage that industrial-scale renewable energy projects would cause,” Fairchild told the supervisors. “Once destroyed, these landscapes can never be brought back.”

The big difference between the California mega-energy project locations and the planned Cat Creek Energy location is our Elmore County, Idaho location contains verified wildlife migration corridors, the “threatened” bull trout and no need for the energy Cat Creek says they want to generate.

Spread the Word / Tell the Elected Official We Don’t Want CCE

The Elmore County Commissioners tentatively approved the Cat Creek Energy project even after their own planning and zoning commission said “no way.”

If you are opposed to the Cat Creek Energy project, take action today.

Contact Elmore County Commissioners Corbus, Wootan and Hofer at:

https://elmorecounty.org/contact/

or

  • Bud Corbus – Phone: (208) 587-2129 ext. 505 Phone: (208)599-1294
  • Wes Wootan – Phone: (208) 587-2129 ext. 505 Phone: (208)599-3131
  • Al Hofer – Phone: (208)587-2129 ext. 505 Phone: (208) 599-1620

and/or

Mail Address:

BOCC
150 South 4th East
Mountain Home, ID 83647

 

In addition, you might consider sharing this post with friends, family, and co-workers.

 

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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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Why Did Cat Creek Energy Decide to Unlink the Project Permits?

All five conditional use permits need to be approved to make the Cat Creek Energy project financially viable.” – Creek Creek Energy Spokesman in 2016

Throughout the permitting process, almost every Cat Creek Energy spokesman testified that all five parts of the project needed to be approved or they couldn’t move forward. The permitting process started in 2015 and ended in 2018.

What We Heard:

They’ll never get federal approval for the power lines in sage grouse territory or water rights for their proposed Cat Creek Reservoir.” – Many people who attended the 2016 and 2017 CUP approval hearings.

 

In 2018, after the Elmore County Commissioners surprisingly approved the five conditional use permits, Cat Creek Energy decided the project really might be financially viable with only a portion (huge wind farm or 590-acre solar plant) getting built out. It’s almost like Cat Creek Energy intended to pull the wool over our eyes while getting the county to approve their mega energy project.

 

Water Rights Problem

Cat Creek Energy has run into significant headwinds in obtaining water rights for their proposed reservoir on Little Camas Prairie. About 20 different private and governmental entities filed separate objections and protests to Cat Creek Energy’s water right permit application they filed with the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR). Elmore County “was” one of those entities that objected to Cat Creek getting their hands on Anderson Ranch Reservoir water.

It’s Unacceptable

We find it suspicious that Cat Creek Energy LLC suddenly found financial viability in a piecemeal approach to their mega-energy complex after the commissioners approved the project and years of saying the CUPs needed to be linked.

We find it wholly unacceptable that Elmore County would allow the project to move forward knowing that the Gooding County-based corporation likely knew they’d never get federal approval for the “pump storage hydro” portion of the project and likely will never get the water rights from Anderson Ranch Reservoir either.

We expect the Elmore County Commissioners to postpone any further approvals of the Cat Creek Energy project until the conditional use permits are once again linked together.

Why? Many residents believed the project would never be able to move forward as a complete project and stopped testifying and paying attention. We’re still paying attention, however.

Reference: Elmore County, Idaho Conditional Use Permits for the Cat Creek Energy Project.

  • CUP-2015-03 / Transmission Lines
  • CUP-2015-04 / Pump Storage Hydro- Electrical Generating Facility
  • CUP-2015-05 / Solar – Electrical Generating Facility)
  • CUP-2015-06 / Wind – Electrical Generating Facility)
  • CUP-2015-07 / Electrical Substation

 

Take Action: Write a letter to the Elmore County Commissioners.

  • Tell them the Cat Creek Energy Project is bad for Elmore County’s big game herds.
  • Tell them Elmore County needs to control our own destiny when it comes to “domestic water issues.”
  • Tell them to relink all five Conditional Use Permits like was originally agreed upon.
  • Tell them our tourism industry will never get established with an industrialized energy complex in our wild and scenic backcountry.

 

Address your letter to:

Elmore County Land Use and Building Department
ATTN: Cat Creek Energy Project
520 East 2nd South Street
Mountain Home, Idaho, 83647

 

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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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How Big Will the Cat Creek Solar Energy Complex Be?

At the intersection of Hwy 20 and Pine-Featherville Road.

By our calculations, the Cat Creek Energy solar complex will cover almost 590 acres and consist of 170,000 solar panels. It’s hard to imagine just how big 590-acres of elk, deer and pronghorn migration blocking territory that covers. And for many in Elmore County, Idaho, they do not realize where this huge fenced-in complex would be located.

How big is a 590 Acres Cat Creek Energy Solar Plant?

  • About 17 US Pentagon buildings would fit inside the fence of the solar complex of the Cat Creek Energy project.
  • It’s larger than the country of Monaco.
  • It’s about five times as big as Vatican City.
  • It’s about 150 times as big as The Biltmore Estate.
  • It’s about 400 times as big as The White House.

Map Link to the Location of the Solar Complex: https://goo.gl/maps/6ioxxAX7ciL2

What Can You Do to Help Stop This Project?

Write, call and email anyone and everyone listed HERE (http://catcreek-energy.com/mailing-addresses-for-cat-creek-energy-issues/) and tell them you are opposed to the Cat Creek Energy project. You can tell your friends, neighbors, and coworkers about the project and how they can help prevent a mega-energy project from ruining our Elmore County backcountry.

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