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Elmore County Commission votes to continue considering nuclear plant rezone June 15, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in Uncategorized.
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Commissioners note contradictions in comprehensive land use plan and ask their Planning and Zoning commission to consider economic goals and a development agreement for power plant

June 15, 2009
For more information, contact:
Don Gillispie, 208-939-9311
Martin Johncox, 208-658-9100
www.alternateenergyholdings.com

Facebook http://groups.to/nuclear
Blog: www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com
Twitter: @aehi

Alternate Energy Holdings Inc.(AEHI:PK), an investor-funded company seeking to build an advanced third-generation nuclear power plant in Southwest Idaho, said it is pleased at a unanimous decision by Elmore County Commissioners today to consider in more detail a proposal to rezone land for a proposed nuclear power plant.

The company has applied to Elmore County to rezone 1,300 acres of land for the plant, which would use 200 acres and leave the rest in farming. The three-member commission began discussing the issue June 8 and continued discussion until today while legal staff continued researching issues.

In deliberations Monday, Commissioner Connie Cruser said the current discussion reminds her of 40 years ago, when her high school debate team discussed the Hells Canyon Dam complex, which is Idaho’s largest power plant at nearly 400 megawatts.

“The very same questions were discussed back then: water and farmland and infrastructure,” Cruser said. “It was an important decision then and I’m glad they made the right decision because we’ve had a lot of years of electricity. This is an important decision not just for Elmore County, but the state and region.”

AEHI CEO and President Don Gillispie said the commission is clearly seeking to balance Elmore County’s rural heritage with its goals for economic development. Gillispie has previously said the county’s comprehensive plan is well-intentioned, but could not have foreseen the possibility of a large-output, carbon-free power plant that would stimulate thousands of jobs.

“As our plans progress, we hope the commission realizes that our proposed plant will serve both rural preservation and economic development,” Gillispie said. “The commission today could have rejected our rezone request outright – to the delight of our opposition – but they instead chose to give it, and their comprehensive plan, further consideration.”

One commissioner noted the comprehensive plan apparently limits industrial growth “only” to a small zone in the north of the county. But the area has no water or services and a questionable ability to support the heavy industry that can provide reliable, well-paying jobs for county residents; there is little land available for sale at that location as well. The commission voted Monday to ask its advisory Planning and Zoning commission to clarify if heavy industry may be developed in other areas of the county.

“The comprehensive plan says we want to try and encourage new business in the county, that’s the general feeling, but the word ‘only’ is an issue,” said Commissioner Arlie Shaw.

“This is too important of an issue to decide on one word in the comprehensive plan,” Cruser said. “We knew things would come up and you can’t foresee everything” in a comprehensive plan. The AEHI application “is not in conflict with the comp plan in every area and I would like to see it go back to P and Z.”

Commission Chairman Larry Rose made the motion for the Planning and Zoning commission to consider to what extent the comp plan may need to be changed to reflect the best interests of the county with regard to industrial development.

“The comprehensive plan is only a plan [guide line for the county]. It obviously can and should be changed as time goes along,” Rose said. The AEHI proposal “really doesn’t fit with anything that was brought up in the meetings” to create the comp plan.

The Commission also directed the Planning and Zoning Commission to work with AEHI on drafting a development agreement. The agreement would state the general conditions under which the land may be used if rezoned. If it turns out the nuclear plant isn’t built, the development agreement will specify the land would revert to agricultural zoning. AEHI initially submitted a development agreement to do that, but withdrew it when it was discovered the county’s guidance was in conflict with state law regarding the time frame. The company agreed to resubmit as is when the time frame conflict was resolved.

In other AEHI news, on June 5, the company announced it signed an agreement with Source Capital Group Inc. to raise money for the project. The funds will cover land, water rights and engineering services to obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval to construct and operate an advanced nuclear plant in Elmore County, Idaho, estimated to total some $70 million. Every company that has undertaken the NRC application process has successfully completed it and received a construction/operation license.

The Elmore County Commission in April heard more than four hours of testimony in favor of AEHI’s request to rezone land for the plant, with over 500 supporters packing the hearing room.

About Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (www.alternateenergyholdings.com)

Alternate Energy Holdings develops and markets innovative clean energy sources.  Current projects include the Idaho Energy Complex (an advanced nuclear plant and bio-fuel generation facility), Energy Neutral which removes energy demands from homes and businesses (www.energyneutralinc.com), Colorado Energy Park(nuclear and solar generating plants) and International Reactors, Inc., which assists developing countries with nuclear reactors for power generation, production of potable water and other suitable applications.

“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Sections 27A & 21E of the amended Securities and Exchange Acts of 1933-34,which are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created thereby.  Although AEHI believes that the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements contained herein are reasonable, there can be no    assurance that these statements included in this press release will prove accurate.

US Investor Relations:

208-939-9311

invest@aehipower.co

Economic opportunity in Elmore County June 11, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, economic benefits, Elmore County, rural nuclear.
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1 comment so far

There’s an important subtext in the controversy about our proposed nuclear power plant in Elmore County. It’s uncomfortable and sensitive to discuss, but it needs to be done.

This is an issue of economic and social justice.  Yes, we seek to enrich ourselves and our investors by building a power plant and, in the American spirit of capitalism, create a useful product, create family-wage jobs and do our part keeping society running (the same could be said of any successful farm, factory or business). If our plans are defeated, the Snake River Alliance will go back to their homes in Sun Valley and Boise’s North End, the farmers will go back to their farms, and the two groups will likely never speak to each other again after popping the champagne. Meanwhile, issues of social and economic justice in Elmore County will remain unaddressed.

I believe the SRA and a few vocal Hammett-area farmers have little interest in bringing more well-paying jobs to the area, because any such proposal is totally absent from their plans. The only reason farmers and environmental activists even talk to each other in this case is because they share a common goal in stopping our power plant. Beyond that, they have no hopes or dreams, other than to keep things just as they are.

The Snake River Alliance and their newfound allies, some Hammett-area farmers, have collected 100 petition signatures against rezoning the land for our plant. I seriously doubt, though, the SRA and friends sought petition signatures at food assistance lines, at downtowns, at trailer parks, at senior centers, or at a jobs fair of their own creation. We did and collected 1,600 signatures, about half of them from Elmore County residents.

Let’s look at some demographic figures. According to the U.S. Census, 12 percent of Elmore County residents live below the poverty level, about the same as in the rest of Idaho. With a 2008 population of 29,000, that’s about 3,480 people who do not earn enough to meet basic needs for themselves or their families.

To get a closer look at Hammett and Glenns Ferry, we need to rely on 2000 Census data from zipskinny.com.

  • In the 83627 ZIP of Hammett (population 616), 16.9 percent of the population lived below the poverty line, much higher than the rest of Elmore County. The median household income was $34,000. Interestingly, about 39 people in the Hammett ZIP code reported making more than $200,000 a year. About 35 percent of the Hammett ZIP Code identified as Hispanic.
  • In the 83623 ZIP code of Glenns Ferry (population 1,938), more than 21 percent of the population lived below the poverty line, significantly higher than the rest of Elmore County. The median household income was $29,600, although around 19 people reported making more than $200,000 a year. About 29 percent of Glenns Ferry ZIP code residents identified themselves as Hispanic.

Hammett-area farmers have worked hard to establish their livelihoods so if any of them are in the group of people earning $200,000 a year, they have undeniably worked hard for it. But I don’t think we came across any of that elite group in the towns of Hammett or Glenns Ferry.

These figures suggest a larger-than-average percentage of Glenns Ferry and Hammett-area residents are “economically disenfranchised,” as the sociologists like to say. In plain English: These families live in poverty, are struggling to make ends meet, earn below-average wages and are at risk for losing their homes, food and ability to educate themselves for a better future. Perhaps they don’t often show up at public hearings or comprehensive plan meetings or write letters to the editor, but they are there if you care to ask them what they think and hope for. If the Hammett-area farmers are among the movers and shakers in Elmore County, these people are among the moved and the shaken.

Our on-the-ground organizing work in Hammett and Glenns Ferry discovered what is easy to see to anyone who cares to look: Glenns Ferry and especially Hammett are in economic distress; they need significant investment in infrastructure; too many people live in trailers and homes in serious need of repair. Food lines are well-attended by the old, working families and the young. Glenns Ferry’s original commercial town center is largely vacant. In conversations, we found many people lost their jobs at a food processing plant or were seasonal agricultural workers and were worried about keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table. Because of language differences, we had to inform many people in Spanish. “Tratamos de construir una planta de energia nuclear …”

Many of these people eagerly signed our petition and we truly hope to provide them with year-‘round family-wage jobs, good housing and a more secure life. Our opponents like to say only the lowest-level jobs would go to Elmore residents or, conversely, that Elmore residents wouldn’t qualify for any jobs. Tellingly, the people we sought out didn’t seem to share those concerns.

I’ve supervised thousands of workers in my career and a nuclear plant is very much a meritocracy. I can tell you that any Elmore County resident who passes security checks and makes it through whatever training they need may put their skills to work at our power plant. They – and their children – are as eligible as anyone else to work as landscapers, mechanics, technicians, security officers, office workers, pipefitters, attorneys, materials handlers, managers, electricians or nuclear physicists. Whatever the job, the power industry pays very well, with nuclear plant jobs averaging $80,000 a year. Beyond the plant itself, the abundant, low-cost energy will draw other well-paying businesses.

It seems all too easy for the Snake River Alliance to ignore these issues of economic justice and align themselves with the few landowners who rely on – and may wish to maintain – a pool of cheap labor, whatever the human cost. Their imagery of rural bliss leaves out the desperation and difficult living conditions that thousands of Elmore County residents face.

We believe hardworking people deserve opportunities to do better for their families. Hopefully the Elmore County Commission agrees.

About Elmore County’s Comprehensive Plan June 9, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, approval process, economic benefits, Elmore County, nuclear industry, rural nuclear, Snake River Alliance, Solar energy, Wind energy.
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(We submitted this opinion to the Mountain Home News today for publication tomorrow.)

The Elmore County Commission said some surprising things Monday. Since they can’t hear any more testimony, it is likely my words won’t make it to them. But it would be helpful, whether or not this project succeeds, to clarify a few things.

The Commissioners correctly pointed out on several occasions the comprehensive plan appears to conflict with itself. That is to be expected in a complex effort like land use planning, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As I will talk about, our rezone proposal actually does conform to the comprehensive plan because our development would provide steady, well-paying jobs; will greatly improve the local tax base; won’t threaten the rural way of life so important to Elmore County residents; and we have addressed concerns about possible future misuse of the land.

The Commission asked their attorney for an opinion as to whether or not they can restrict future uses of the land. The Commissioners are concerned that if they rezone the land for industrial use and the nuclear plant isn’t developed, the landowner could apply to build some undesirable use and the commission would have little ability to stop it.

This is a reasonable concern. However, we addressed it early on in the process. Along with our application, we submitted a development agreement. The agreement makes clear that if we do not build a nuclear power plant on the land, then it must revert to agricultural zoning.

Elected officials are understandably reluctant to deviate from their comprehensive plans. However, they also know there will come times to make reasonable exceptions. We believe this is such a time. The current comprehensive plan, however well-intentioned, did not foresee the possibility of an ambitious and economically significant proposal such as ours, the most expensive single piece of private infrastructure ever proposed for Idaho.

The designated industrial location, Simco Road, has very little water; a 20-mile-long pipe would need to be constructed, presenting insurmountable safety and right-of-way concerns. The site has geologic issues that also make it difficult to site a nuclear plant there. Interestingly, much more intrusive uses, such as industrial wind farms and natural gas plants, may be located anywhere in the county without a heavy industrial designation. This is especially puzzling, as a nuclear plant emits no smoke, noise, dust or odors and takes up very little space.

Another commissioner said the people of Hammett have spoken overwhelmingly against the rezone. While many Hammett-area farmers spoke as individuals (and included their feelings again as members of a group), that is by no means representative of Hammett the town, where many of the workers on these farms actually live.

Of the 1,600 signatures we gathered in favor of the rezone (half from Elmore County), we estimate at least 50 came from in and around Hammett, where our community organizing efforts found people, many of them agricultural workers, desperate for stable, well-paying jobs. These figures suggest national polls about nuclear power, which routinely show 70%-plus support.

One of the commissioners’ least enviable jobs is to balance competing interests, each of them important. Should they (as our opponents say) approve an industry that would destroy the rural way of life? Or should they adopt a clean, stable source of energy and the jobs that go with it? Unfortunately, our opponents have presented this as an either-or choice when, in fact, it is not. In terms of being an industrial use, we will no more impose upon Elmore County’s rural way of life than a cheese plant or an air force base (which we whole heartedly support as a veteran run organization).

If the farmers could demonstrate the plant we propose would harm their way of life, they might have a case for keeping hundreds of their fellow county residents from holding power plant jobs. As it stands, however, nuclear plants are excellent neighbors. Of the 1,300 acres proposed in our rezone, about 200 would be for the actual plant. The remaining land would consist of ponds and farms, as is common in the predominantly rural settings where nuclear plants are located. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, it costs 1.8 cents to produce a kilowatt-hour of electricity with nuclear power, and that power is produced more than 90 percent of the time (http://tinyurl.com/2pgc8k). That’s a significant benefit to farmers

Indeed, Elmore County farms have for decades abutted extremely intensive heavy-industrial uses with no problems. I’m speaking of Mountain Home Air Force Base, Despite the general mistrust of government in our society, the Air Force Base has been a good neighbor and is a pillar of the region’s economy. Safe to say, MHAFB would have a hard time fitting in the Simco Road location.

One commissioner also expressed concern about how construction would affect local services. Any sort of significant project will certainly impose some burdens and we have suggested ways to address them. Ideas include paying money directly to the county to reduce the bill for all taxpayers as compensation for disruption; job training; a community center; scholarships; direct infrastructure funding; and a committee to oversee service needs (for details, see my open letter to the people of Hammett on my blog at www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com). Not to mention, these burdens would pale in comparison to the benefits specified in the next paragraph.

Current farms in Elmore County produce 2.86 jobs (some seasonal) per acre, or about 4 jobs at the current location. Our plant would produce 500-year round jobs at the site and 5,000 peak jobs per year during construction; $558 million in local payroll and labor income; and $205 million in local ripple payroll income. The plant would also create an additional 1,754 full-time support jobs and massive improvements in schools, police, fire and other infrastructure funding.

The irony isn’t lost on me that the commission these days is also holding meetings on how to deal with a pressing budget crisis. Our proposal would start putting people to work immediately and increase the economic security for the all residents of Elmore County.

One of the Commissioners made another important statement. If Elmore County residents – and presumably the Snake River Alliance – wish to see farmland kept undeveloped, they should probably consider forming a land trust or other legal vehicle to accomplish it. To restrict private property rights for that reason is not a wise use of power.

Things are going well for AEHI. Last week, we signed an agreement with Source Capital Group Inc. to raise money for the project. The funds will cover land, water rights and engineering services to obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval to construct and operate an advanced nuclear plant in Elmore County, Idaho, estimated to total some $70 million. Every company that has undertaken the NRC application process has successfully completed it and received a construction/operation license.

We see a bright future for Elmore County, one that many communities in America share. It is a future of economic security and low-cost energy, with a nuclear plant quietly, cleanly and dependably powering its farms, homes and businesses. We hope the Elmore County Commission votes for this future and approves our rezone.

Great news on the funding front June 6, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Investment news.
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AEHI taps experienced energy sector company to fund Idaho nuclear plant site 
Source Capital Group Inc. has extensive experience funding energy-sector projects and will raise an estimated $70 million to primarily fund government license application process

For more information, contact:
Don Gillispie, 208-939-9311
Martin Johncox, 208-658-9100
http://www.alternateenergyholdings.com
Facebook http://groups.to/nuclear
Blog: www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com
Twitter: @aehi

Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., an investor-funded company seeking to build an advanced third-generation nuclear power plant in Elmore County, Idaho, has signed an agreement with Source Capital Group Inc. to raise money for the project.

 The funds will cover land, water rights and engineering services to obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval to construct and operate an advanced nuclear plant in Elmore County, Idaho, estimated to total some $70 million. Every company that has undertaken the NRC application process has successfully completed it and received a construction/operation license.

This is a major step in the process to bring the first commercial nuclear plant to Idaho and the first advanced nuclear plant to the western US that is so in need of clean, low cost base load power to sustain industry and agriculture,” said company CEO Don Gillispie. “We are very pleased to have a company with Source Capital’s experience in raising funds for energy projects on board.”

Source Capital’s Investment Banking Department has extensive experience in energy transactions including Initial Public Offerings, Private Placements, Project Finance, Master Limited Partnerships, Special Purpose Vehicles and Reverse Mergers. Source One has helped companies in traditional fossil exploration and production, as well as a broad spectrum of alternative and renewable energy companies, including Rock Energy and Enerlume Energy Corporation. The company is capable of providing financing from $5 million to $500 million. 

“Mr. Gillispie and his team have an extensive background in the nuclear power industry and have developed a compelling plan to create a new and much needed energy source for the western United States,” said Richard Kreger, Senior Managing Director of Investment Banking for Source Capital. ‘We are excited to bring the merits of their vision to investors in an effort to ensure the success of this worthy project.” 

David Harris, President of Source Capital Group, Inc., affirmed that “clean, low cost energy is one of the most vital areas of focus for our nation’s future.  Source is pleased to have the opportunity to leverage its financial services expertise in the energy sector to raise capital for AEHI and this important initiative.”

 A former offer from Silverleaf Partners of Utah was only applicable to a former proposed site in Owyhee County. Also, several large financial institutions have indicated an interest in financing the construction phase.  

The Elmore County Commission in April heard more than four hours of testimony, most in favor of AEHI’s request to rezone land for the plant, with over 500 supporters packing the hearing room. On Monday, June 8, the commission will discuss and possibly vote on the rezone.

About Source Capital Group, Inc. (www.sourcegrp.com) Source Capital Group, Inc. is a full-service financial institution, specializing in middle-market investment banking transactions, distressed and high yield debt securities, investment management, mortgages, and business lending.  Source has provided equity, debt, and structured finance solutions to both public and private companies in a variety of industries, including energy, oil and gas, telecommunications, technology, biotech, and consumer goods.  Source Capital Group, Inc. was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Westport, Connecticut, member FINRA / SIPC.

About Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (www.alternateenergyholdings.com)
Alternate Energy Holdings develops and markets innovative clean energy sources.  Current projects include the Idaho Energy Complex (an advanced nuclear plant and bio-fuel generation facility, energy-neutral home and business technology (www.energyneutralinc.com), Colorado Energy Park and International Reactors, Inc., which assists developing countries with nuclear reactors for power generation, production of potable water and other suitable applications. 

 

“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995:  This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Sections 27A & 21E of the amended Securities and Exchange Acts of 1933-34,which are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created thereby.  Although AEHI believes that the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements contained herein are reasonable, there can be no    assurance that these statements included in this press release will prove accurate.  

 US Investor Relations:
208-939-9311
invest@aehipower.com

Snake River Alliance does Idaho no favors June 3, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, anti-renewable energy, economic benefits, Greenfield nuclear development, Mountain Home News, renewable energy, Snake River Alliance.
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2 comments

[We submitted this opinion to the Mountain Home news last month but space constraints kept it from being published.]

Democracy gives people a lot of latitude in how to get something done, or to stop it from being done. The events over the last few weeks have been really useful in showing how we and the Snake River Alliance differ on those counts. Heat doesn’t substitute for light and even a group as prickly as the Snake River Alliance should know that a civil tone will help public discussion of important issues like energy.

Our efforts to prepare for the April 20 rezone hearing were aboveboard and successful. We launched a public information campaign to let people know about our table to collect resumes and letters of interest and around 500 showed up and wore stickers supporting AEHI. I spoke at clubs, groups, associations, business and anywhere else people would have me, and not all of these venues were friendly.

We collected 1,600 signatures through much hard work going door-to-door, going to food lines, going to workplaces, going to places the SRA wouldn’t bother going. We produced an informational video and mailed it to each household in Elmore County. We sent a letter to every resident of Hammett to address their specific concerns. We launched a traditional advertising campaign and used the new tools of social media to get the word out.

In contrast, the Snake River Alliance prepared for the rezone hearing with bizarre and unethical gimmicks. A week or so before the hearing, the SRA complained to the Glenns Ferry Police Department that I shoved SRA employee Liz Woodruff at a March 10 Glenns Ferry City Council meeting – in a room full of the public, city officials and police officers, no less! The authorities did their duty and, after interviewing me and other people, found the accusation without merit. Clearly, the SRA was fishing for an “October surprise” a week before the rezone hearing, hoping to smear my reputation and throw the meeting into disarray.

These shenanigans have no place in public policy. It probably didn’t help the SRA that Mrs. Woodruff on March 24 publicly apologized to the Glenns Ferry City Council for her childish behavior at that March 10 council meeting, where she sought to disrupt my presentation.

All this is relevant because it speaks to the SRA’s involvement in the public process. As hard as they try to keep a veneer of civility, they openly and behind-the-scenes do what they can do disrupt the local process. Apparently, they were able to restrain themselves more or less for the rezone hearing, but they and their supporters formed “groups” to get more speaking time. Then, individual members of the “groups” spoke, violating the principle the county established for recognizing groups .

Clearly, the SRA does best when surrounded by supporters and friends, but their thin-skinned nature leads them to do some strange things. For example, sometimes the SRA seems immune to common sense. To emphasize that nuclear plants are a good fit with rural areas, we showed pictures of cows grazing a stone’s throw from nuclear plants and Andrea Shipley’s response was to say “the property at issue is not grazed by cows” (actually, cows graze the only adjacent private land). As the SRA well knows, our plant would take up around 200 acres, with the remainder of the 1,300 acre parcel to remain farmland.

To say our plant would “upend surrounding ag uses” is preposterous. For the real story on how our plant would affect the area, see my open letter to the citizens of Hammett at http://www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com. There are plenty of photos of nuclear plants surrounded by hayfields, wildlife habitat, estuaries and near small towns (yes, we’re well aware there are no estuaries in Elmore County).

In the face of our campaign, the SRA says the jobs will never materialize – but the SRA is working as hard as it can to stop the jobs from ever materializing. We’ve already put 100 Idahoans to work and as long as investors continue to fund us, that’s their concern, not the SRA’s. They say we haven’t finalized enough details about our plant, but you know if we had every detail plotted out they’d complain we were being presumptuous. At this stage, we are simply seeking to rezone the land, yet they chide us for not having each and every aspect of our plant finalized.

Speaking of our business, Ms. Shipley breathlessly states the obvious in quoting our SEC report, which says “AEHI has limited funds and such funds will not be adequate to carry out the business plan without borrowing significant funds. The ultimate success of AEHI may depend upon its ability to raise additional capital … and it could fail.” OK, so we openly admit don’t have enough money to build a nuclear reactor and need more investment to build it. So? Utilities, developers, companies and anyone else building anything must seek investment capital as well.

Ms. Shipley is either uneducated about start-up public companies, or she is seeking to misrepresent our funding picture. We are the only publicly owned company in the nation seeking to build an independent nuclear power plant; traditional utilities, for whatever reasons, haven’t constructed enough power plants and we are stepping up to meet the demand. Like any other start-up, we seek investment for what we propose. If we get it, we may succeed, and if we don’t, we fail. Anyone who has run a business, or who is not terribly out-of-touch with business, understands that.

The Snake River Alliance’s contempt for working people is evident in its own site, as well as those of supporters. Among the drawbacks of our plant, according to the SRA’s Jan. 9 news release, would be “thousands of construction workers” in Elmore County (http://tinyurl.com/qxgnm9). I guess if someone has a problem with construction workers, that would be a concern, but to people who are willing to work hard and get something built, it’s an insult. Or, this gem from http://tinyurl.com/p43rar, refers this way to people who came to our table: “To what degree will these curbside applicants feel like darned fools?”

If this is the best the Snake River Alliance can offer, it has grossly underestimated our tenacity, the depth of our support and the necessity of our enterprise.

Ms. Shipley claimed I am “obsessed with counting stickers” but that is the closest she comes to acknowledging the truth: People at the meeting were overwhelmingly supportive of the rezone and the SRA’s vaunted community organizing efforts didn’t produce much in that regard. The best Ms. Shipley can do is to discount our efforts to create jobs and say the jobs won’t come soon enough, or at all, or they won’t be for Elmore residents – while simultaneously doing all she can to stop the jobs from ever coming. Tactically, the SRA was out-hustled, but that in itself means nothing as the ultimate measure of success lies with the Elmore County Commission.

Most valuable are the resumes of hundreds of highly qualified, hardworking Idahoans we collected and hope to call on as soon as we can. They and thousands of other supporters hope we prevail over the SRA and its newfound allies.

Anti-nukes use another two-faced approach when they say nuclear power shouldn’t be pursued because we have no place to store or reprocess the waste, but then they work against storage and reprocessing solutions. It’s worth pointing out Areva is planning for reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel in the US (http://tinyurl.com/pwfblo). The firm recently shared with bloggers its conceptual thinking about a 800 ton/year plant which it says is the answer to apparent end of the Yucca Mountain repository project.

Given the traditional antagonism between environmental groups like the SRA and agriculture, it is not surprising Ms. Shipley is out of touch with ag issues. News alert for Ms. Shipley: Farming in Idaho is largely constrained by the high cost of water, because pumping that water is becoming increasingly expensive. Irrigators currently pay close to 4 cents per kilowatt hour, but Idaho Power is asking for an 11.1 percent increase in that rate. Many farmers spend thousands of dollars a month on power costs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, it costs 1.8 cents to produce a kilowatt-hour of electricity with nuclear power, and that power is produced more than 90 percent of the time (http://tinyurl.com/2pgc8k).

This kind of reliable low-cost power is exactly what high-lift irrigators and other farmers need to stay economically competitive. According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind costs around 5 cents per kilowatt hour (http://tinyurl.com/kyg8u) with federal subsidies – when it’s blowing, which is around 20 percent of the time on average. Ms. Shipley should know business can’t operate under those power terms; we only make it work by importing half our energy for out-of-state coal plants.

It strains belief that Ms. Shipley would claim “Idaho is not out of power … Idaho has ample electricity resources.” Perhaps she should tell that laughable claim to the two major employers who bypassed southern Idaho in 2007 because Idaho Power couldn’t provide electricity! Surely, she is just as disappointed as the rest of us about the loss of those jobs.

The fact that Idaho imports half its energy is proof enough that we need to develop our own dispatchable baseload resources in-state. It’s no secret that Idaho Power hasn’t developed a base-load power plant in Idaho in at least 30 years, choosing instead buying shares in out-of-state coal plants. I really can’t blame them; after getting a taste of the difficulty in developing a power plant, I can see why Idaho Power has evidently given up on new baseload power in Idaho.

That brings me to my next point, which is that energy developers of all kinds are facing a harder time getting anything built, and no advocacy groups are stepping forward to support them. As you read this, dozens of rural landowners want to “curb enthusiasm for” and ultimately kill plans to plant wind turbines and string a green-field power line segment across the northern Laramie Range in Wyoming (http://tinyurl.com/polydc). The Northern Laramie Range Alliance is fighting wind energy, which the Snake River Alliance points to as the future of energy generation.

Something tells me the Snake River Alliance and its allies won’t be showing up to help these wind power developers – or anyone who’s trying to build a power plant.