“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.
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