Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

Tag Archives: Water

A Pine, Idaho Homeowner Explains Why “The Project” is Bad for the County

Elk and mule deer migration patterns be disrupted.

  • The Cat Creek Energy site would be built within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, raptors, and fish and other animals like bats.
  • The Cat Creek Energy site would be built in important sage grouse habitat.
  • The Cat Creek Energy site would affect our fishery and water quality.
  • The Cat Creek Energy site would create unacceptable noise pollution on Anderson Ranch Reservoir.

On May 16, 2019, Judge Nancy Baskin will have the opportunity to hear oral arguments that support the fact that the actions of Elmore County in regards to the Cat Creek Energy project approval were invalid. As a result we expect the judge will remand the project back to the Director of the P&Z Commission as early as July of this year.

Below you can read for yourself another of the many reasons we believe Judge Baskin will rule that the CUP approval process and the subsequent 2019 Development Agreement between Cat Creek and Elmore County were legally and procedural flawed.

 

Reference: Page 14 of the Petition for Judicial Review document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Another opponent of the Project, Wendi Combs, a resident of Pine, Idaho, testified that the Project does not belong on Anderson Ranch Reservoir. She stated that “according to Fish and Game, the proposed site does lie within a major migration corridor for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, raptors, and fish and other animals like bats.

The area is an important sage grouse habitat. Sage grouse do not like tall structures, such as wind turbines, power lines, and towers. Displacement, avoidance and reduced nesting success are well documented.

Fish and Game are concerned about water quality impacts, entrainment of fish, particularly the bull trout, and endangered species. “We’re not talking about one, but six silos pumping water up and down the reservoir 24/7, 365 days a year,” their words in quotes.

Then there is the noise pollution that will affect all the surrounding neighbors and campsites rendering them practically useless for solace and enjoyment.

We invite you to read the full 64 pages of the Judicial Review document that S Bar Ranch filed with Fourth Judicial District of Idaho to right this Cat Creek Energy wrong.

Download the document at https://catcreek-energy.com/download/928/

Take Action

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact 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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National Forest Service Concerns Regarding the Cat Creek Energy Project

This “Bull Trout Country” sign is located just 5 miles west of the proposed Cat Creek Energy project lands.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and The National Forest Service commented about the concerns they have about the Generation Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, P-14655 portion of the Cat Creek Energy project back in October 2015. Those concerns have yet to be addressed as of late-March 2019.

A letter dated October 25, 2015, from Kimberly D. Bose from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) highlights their concerns that Cat Creek Energy needs to act in a timely manner and in good faith before they will issue a temporary permit to begin some very critical studies within the Elmore County backcountry. Their main area of concern is the South Fork of the Boise River basin and the Little Camas Prairie located about 18 miles northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho.

Reference: Page 4 and 5 of “FERC-COMMENTS of U.S. Forest Service on Cat Creek Energy Generation Pumped Storage“ document. Please feel free to download the 25 Oct 2015 letter by clicking HERE FERC-COMMENTS of U.S. Forest Service on Cat Creek Energy Generation Pumped Storage … or https://catcreek-energy.com/download/964/

 

Here is Just a Part of the National Forest Service / FERC Concerns

Fisheries Resources

The Anderson Ranch Reservoir fisheries resource consists of rainbow trout, bull trout, whitefish, chinook salmon, kokanee salmon and smallmouth bass. South Fork Boise River below Anderson Ranch Reservoir is a Blue Ribbon fishery consisting of rainbow trout, bull trout, mountain whitefish, and sculpin.

  • Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species (TES) and critical habitat
    Endangered Species Act

  • Bull trout are listed as a threatened species (63 FR 31647 31674) under the
    Endangered Species Act.

  • Anderson Ranch Reservoir up to full pool is designated critical habitat (75 FR
    63898 64070) under the Endangered Species Act.

  • South Fork Boise River below Anderson Ranch Reservoir is designated critical habitat (75 FR 63898 64070) under the Endangered Species Act.


Concerns

  • Entrainment – bull trout and other species could be entrained when pumping
    water up to the holding basin.

  • Temperature – Increase in water temperature to Anderson Ranch Reservoir or the South Fork Boise River depending on the alternative considered and where water is released. The newly constructed dam would be a shallow reservoir and water temperatures would increase rapidly through solar radiation during hot summer months. An increase in water temperature could impact bull trout and could have effects on other fish resources within the reservoir.

  • Sediment – Increase in sediment from construction, maintenance and operation of hydroelectric facilities and associated power lines.

  • Supersaturation –  Supersaturation occurs when air becomes trapped in water
    spilled over a dam as it hits the pool below. If too much nitrogen is absorbed in the bloodstream of fish, air bubbles form and create the equivalent of what dives call “the bends” and fish die.

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy project from moving forward. Contact 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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FERC Requests Info from Cat Creek Energy

Proposed Cat Creek Energy Project

In a previous post dated Feb 26, 2019, we highlighted the fact that the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) has requested additional information from Cat Creek Energy (CCE).  This is a request regarding a successive preliminary permit application for their Pumped Storage Hydroelectric project.
The Cat Creek Energy project will get more complicated as the developers start interacting with state and federal entities before they can move ahead with the project.  We feel it’s important for all Elmore County residents to understand the entire process.

Reference: http://catcreek-energy.com/ferc-request-cat-creek-provide-additional-information-by-march-8-2019/

We Think It’s Important to Understand the FERC Requests For Information

The FERC has requested Cat Creek Energy provide information, action and/or documentation regarding two different issues.  These requests apply to their bid to use public land and infrastructure for the pumped storage hydroelectric portion of their mega-energy project.  This project will affect the backcountry of Elmore County, Idaho.

Background for FERC Request #1: Cat Creek Energy wants to build a new reservoir, including a dam on the bluffs above Anderson Ranch Reservoir. They will use water from Anderson to fill their 100,000 acre/foot reservoir.  This will require using six, 15-foot diameter pipes/penstocks.

The bull trout lives in Anderson Ranch Reservoir. It thrives because of the pristine and stable environment found within the South Fork of the Boise River basin, including Anderson Ranch. The bull trout is listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Government.

FERC Request #1: The FERC has requested that CCE show proof of the actions and/or geotechnical studies they have, or will commission in the future, regarding how they will mitigate the effects that their pumped storage hydroelectric project will have on the threatened bull trout.
Remember, the bull trout lives in Anderson Ranch Reservoir, just 1,000 feet from their planned dam/reservoir on Little Camas Prairie. The two reservoirs will be interconnected if Cat Creek gets the approval to move ahead with the project.

By Brambleshire – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17074506

 

Background on FERC Request #2: Cat Creek Energy entered into a “Lease of Power Privilege” (LOPP) with the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) for the use of Anderson Ranch Reservoir. The Bureau of Reclamation has indicated that CCE has yet to provide the required funding to move ahead with the lease agreement.

FERC Request #2: The FERC has requested CCE initiate and memorialize the critical payments and actions required by the “Lease of Power Privilege” (LOPP) agreement.

 

Cat Creek Energy has until March 8, 2019, to fully respond to these two Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requests for information.

 

 

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FERC Request Cat Creek Provide Additional Information by March 8, 2019

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has requested additional information from Cat Creek Energy, LLC regarding their planned Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project on Little Camas Prairie. Cat Creek Energy has until March 8, 2019, to answer the questions contained in the “Schedule A” document located at the bottom of this post.

The letter and Schedule A can also be directly downloaded here … http://catcreek-energy.com/download/874/


FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D. C. 20426
February 21, 2019

OFFICE OF ENERGY PROJECTS

 

Project No. 14655-001–Idaho
Cat Creek Energy Generation Facility
Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project
Cat Creek Energy, LLC

 

James Carkulis
Cat Creek Energy, LLC 398 S. 9th Street, Suite 240
Boise, ID 83702

Subject: Additional Information Request Dear Mr. Carkulis:

After reviewing your successive preliminary permit application filed on November 9, 2018, for the Cat Creek Energy Generation Facility Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project No. 14655-001 and the comments filed on the application, additional information is needed to continue processing your application. Please provide the information requested in Schedule A within 15 days from the date of this letter.

The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file the requested information using the Commission’s eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs- filing/efiling.asp. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov, (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-14655-001.

If you have any questions concerning this letter, please call Karen Sughrue at (202) 502-8556.

 

Sincerely,

~ signed ~

For David Turner,
Chief Northwest Branch
Division of Hydropower Licensing

 


Enclosure:  Schedule A
Project No. 14655-001

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

1. In section (iii) of Exhibit 2 of your application, you request a waiver of section 4.81(c)(2) of the Commission’s regulations, which requires the filing of a work plan for new dam construction. S Bar Ranch, LLC, in its motion to intervene and protest, objects to this waiver request.

Section 4.81(c)(3) of the Commission’s regulations allows the Commission to waive the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) upon a showing by the applicant that the field studies, tests, and other activities to be conducted under the permit would not adversely affect cultural resources or endangered species and would cause minor alterations or disturbances of lands and waters, and that any land altered or disturbed would be adequately restored. The federally listed bull trout and its critical habitat are within the proposed project boundary at the Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Neither your permit or the project record clearly describes if you intend to conduct geotechnical studies during the term of the successive permit.

If you intend to conduct geotechnical studies, you must either demonstrate that the studies will not affect cultural resources or endangered species and result in minimal disturbance to land and waters, or file a work plan. In the latter case, the work plan must contain: (i) a description, including the approximate location, of any field study, test, or other activity that may alter or disturb lands or waters in the vicinity of the proposed project, including floodplains and wetlands; measures that would be taken to minimize any such disturbance; and measures that would be taken to restore the altered or disturbed areas; and (ii) a proposed schedule (a chart or graph may be used), the total duration of which does not exceed the proposed term of the permit, showing the intervals at which the studies, investigations, tests, and surveys, identified under this paragraph are proposed to be completed.

2. As explained in your original permit, the proposed project would require a Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP) from the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) for the use of Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Letters filed by Reclamation on April 4, 2017 and January 31, 2019, indicate that you have begun that LOPP process by receiving approval from Reclamation on October 17, 2016 to be a preliminary leasee for a five- year period. The January 31, 2019 filing also indicates that you have entered into a contributed-funds-agreement contract with Reclamation on May 9, 2017. However both letters indicate that you have not provided the required funding for Reclamation’s review of the project, entered into a preliminary LOPP agreement with Reclamation, or begun conducting the studies required by Reclamation to evaluate project impacts. The letters also indicate that Reclamation does not intend to commit resources to processing your proposed project until the required funding is provided. Reclamation’s January 31, 2019, filing states that if you are still interested in this project that it is critical to initiate these steps to attempt to complete the required LOPP steps by October 16, 2021.

Therefore, please file an update on your efforts at conducting the LOPP process steps with noted in Reclamation’s January 31, 2019 letter.

 

 

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Comment on Cat Creek Energy’s Hydro Project by March 20, 2019

Take Action

Low water conditions on Anderson Ranch Reservoir on Aug. 17, 2018.

The Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) is actively soliciting your comments regarding Cat Creek Energy’s “Pump Storage Hydroelectric Generating Facility.” The S Bar Ranch, Chris Stephens and many locals who oppose the entire project hope you will provide feedback to our federal government, too.

The goal is to protect Anderson Ranch Reservoir for the people of Elmore County.

How to File a Comment with the FERC

Go To: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/27/2018-25813/cat-creek-energy-llc-notice-of-successive-preliminary-permit-application-accepted-for-filing-and

Please file comments, motions to intervene, notices of intent, and competing applications using the Commission’s eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp

Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp.

FYI: You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments.

Below, you will find some of the issues we believe the federal government should seriously consider before allowing Cat Creek Energy to build a hydroelectric generating facility on the shores of Anderson Ranch Reservoir.

The more comments the feds receive, the harder they will look at this project.

What is Pump Storage Hydroelectric?

What is this “ Pump Storage Hydroelectric Generating Facility” that Cat Creek Energy (CCE) is trying to build on Little Camas Prairie? In theory, it goes something like this …

  • CCE digs out the shell of a reservoir on the bluffs above Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
  • CCE drills six 15 foot diameter tunnels from that new shell of a reservoir down to Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
  • CCE siphons 100,000 acre/feet of water up those bluffs to fill that new reservoir.
  • Once that phase of the project is completed …
  • CCE will release a large amount of water from their reservoir back into Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
  • That water will be run through turbines located at or near the south shore of Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
  • CCE collects that hydroelectric power and sells it to consumers in Washington, Oregon and California via a maze of transmission lines they plan to construct.

The Problems Associated With the CCE Pump Storage HydroElectric

  1. Water Quality: All local reservoirs have had toxic blue-green algae health warnings issued on them during 2017 and 2018 except Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
    The proposed Cat Creek Reservoir will likely experience a blue-green algae bloom soon after it gets filled. And then, Cat Creek will dump that toxic soup into Anderson Reservoir.
    Many people fish, boat and swim in this water. We think it should be kept clean of any blue-green algae source.
  2. Endangered Species: The endangered Bull Trout thrives in Anderson Ranch Reservoir because of the near constant water temperatures at depth. Cat Creek Energy will dump 1000s of gallons of warm and stagnant water back into Anderson, raising the local water temperature. Studies have suggested the Bull Trout will be adversely affected by this warming.
  3. Water level issues in Anderson: The physical act of removing water from Anderson Ranch Reservoir will affect the lake levels. However, massive summertime evaporation and domestic/agricultural use of the water will surely lower the warm season levels of their reservoir. CCE will then need to siphon additional water out of Anderson during the summer to prevent their reservoir from running dry just when we need that water in Anderson the most. Studies show our kokanee salmon fishery in Anderson will be mightily threatened by the CCE hydroelectric facility.
  4. Electrical Transmission Lines: CCE plans to run many high-tension electrical transmission lines between their different projects. Those lines will likely run from the bluffs above Anderson Reservoir and along the Highway 20 corridor. Many studies show that those massive towers greatly affect tourism and the viewshed.

Please consider giving your feedback to our government about the ill-conceived Cat Creek Energy Project.

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Coming: Cat Creek Energy News in Abundance

Even the Idaho Department of Transportation knows there is a critical deer and elk migration corridor running right through the middle of the planned Cat Creek Energy project landscape.

Photo taken on Jan. 20, 2019 and geotagged at https://goo.gl/maps/FS2sEdcDudM2

In the past few months, a lot of news and information has surfaced about the ill-advised Cat Creek Energy project that is scheduled to be built just 20 miles northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho.

What Issues?

  • There are water issues to discuss.
  • There are wildlife issues to discuss.
  • There are political issues to discuss.
  • There are State of Idaho issues to discuss.
  • There are federal regulations and guidance to discuss.
  • There are Elmore County Commissioner issues to discuss.

In the coming days and weeks, these issues will be brought to light on this website and our S Bar Ranch Facebook Page.

Our hopes are that you will read what we have to say and then do your own research. We’re very confident you will find that the 5,750 acre Cat Creek Energy project will be a boondoggle for the residents of Elmore County and our emerging tourism industry.

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Cat Creek Energy Development Agreement with Elmore County Gets its First Amendment

During the Dec. 14, 2018 public hearing.

Spoiler Alert: The county commissioners agreed to give Cat Creek Energy, LLC more time to renegotiate certain water issues at the Dec. 14, 2018 public hearing.

The Hearing

In a nutshell, this is what happened at this 30-minute public hearing. The first amendment of the development agreement between Cat Creek Energy and Elmore County in regards to the mega-energy project slated for our backcountry was approved during a public hearing and deliberations on December 14, 2018.

The approved amendment, however, was merely to give the county and the Gooding-based corporation extra time to negotiate the Water Diversion and Delivery Agreements portion of a joint development agreement. The original date to hammer out the details was December 31, 2018. The new date to agree on those water issues is now officially, June 30, 2019.

If the county and Cat Creek Energy cannot come to an agreement by June 30, 2019, the conditional use permits (CUP 2015-04) will lapse.

There were four individuals who testified against giving Cat Creek Energy additional time to hammer out the agreement and one individual who was neither for nor against the amendment. The interesting thing to know and understand is, Cat Creek Energy did not publicly testify at this meeting. There was one Cat Creek lawyer in attendance and she did not give us any reason for why they require more time. That could be important.

FYI: CUP-2015-04 deals with the proposed Cat Creek Reservoir and its Pump Storage Hydro-electrical Generating Facility.

Reference:

More to Come

Expect a follow-on post regarding this issue where we will discuss some of our thoughts about what happened and what didn’t happen at this and other related public hearings.

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