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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jobs versus quality of life

Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at 11:50 AM

In less than a month the county will decide the fate of the AEHI nuclear plant proposal.

And both AEHI and its primary opposition, the Snake River Alliance, will be launching a full-court press to lobby local citizens to their side.

AEHI will try and tell you the modern nuclear industry is safe and clean. The SRA will try to scare you into believing it isn't. Keep in mind, this is the same group whose concern for our community was so great not too many years ago that they advocated closing the airbase. And we all remember the kind of tactics of truth they used then.

In truth, the modern nuclear industry, which is rapidly evolving as governments stress "green" energy from nuclear sources, is one of the safest on the planet. And it is heavily regulated and monitored. The odds of something going wrong today are very, very low. Of course, if they do go wrong, the consequences can range from almost no effect to very, very bad.

But none of us here have the training or expertise to properly evaluate the technical aspects of this proposal. For that, we'll rely on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and all the other state and federal agencies that would have so sign off on this plan. They do have the expertise. And unlike the paid experts that may be dragged into the coming argument by both sides, the government experts have a vested interest in being neutral. We'll accept their expertise.

So in the end, the county commissioners have to make a decision, not about the technical qualifications of nuclear power plants, but about land use. And it will come down, for the commissioners at least, to a classic case of jobs versus quality of life.

If they approve this rezone and a subsequent conditional use permit (which we would encourage them to be very tough with), then some jobs will begin to be created right away, and if the government approves the technical parts of the nuclear plant, then down the road a huge number of very good paying jobs will be created. In addition, the assessed valuation of the county would rise so fast that your county tax bill would fall through the floor.

All of those are pluses.

But quality of life has to be given equal consideration by the commissioners. The people who live in the Indian Cove area do so for a reason. They like the quiet lifestyle of the area. They don't want hundreds of trucks going by their homes every day during construction. They don't want an industrial facility in their neighborhood. They want the quiet, idyllic life they enjoy along the river.

If the plant were to be approved, that quality of life there would disappear and we can never get it back.

So that's the minus.

In the end, that's the issue the commissioners must decide -- quality of life versus jobs and economics. It's the kind of decision commissioners often face. But few will have so great an impact.

Now is the time to let them know what you think.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Kelly, who are the "we" that you speak of when you comment? Also the SRA is NOT the largest voice of opposition to this proposed plant---it is the people who live here in Idaho. I guess you missed the hearings where 2-4 people spoke "pro" nuclear while far more than that spoke against (several hours of anti nuclear to be exact). There were many groups AGAINST this proposed nuclear power plant and the SRA is one of them and we, the citizens, WELCOME their support. See, this issue goes beyond Elmore County contrary to what you have stated in the past. When there is a leak---it will change the lives of many outside of Elmore County as well as in Elmore County. So, this is more than "our" issue.

As far as this being about jobs v. quality of life, it boils down to far more than that such as law maybe. What about the Comp. Plan that states this type of industry shall only be allowed on Simco Road? What about the fact that YOU enjoy protection under the law regarding land use around your home and what can/cannot be built? Are we not all allowed equal protection under the law as well? Of course we are! Now, if our "creative" ECC's find a way around their own rules...that is another story but I am pretty sure if that happens, the matter will end up in Court and (in addition) we will have 3 new ECC's. Worse could happen for us.

It is interesting how good old Don had no time to attend a SINGLE hearing for his beloved project but has time to visit the CC of GF and MH and visit with the MH News---yet, he had no time to attend a single hearing and had to have the remaining hearing before the ECC's moved because of his "travel" schedule. It does not sound like this is at all important to him. Why is it so important to you? My taxes will go down? How when AEHI will pay little to none due to tax credits given to businesses who locate here? Who will pay to improve roads? We, the taxpayers will, not AEHI (which is clearly stated in their application with P & Z). And how about all of that TOXIC waste that will be stored for at least 25 years within 1-2 miles of the Snake River? That does not sound "safe" to me. More police will need to be hired, support staff, etc. Who pays for that? Us, the taxpayers of course.

2 days ago a statement was issued regarding terrorist attacks and nuclear plants. Wow! More research needs to be done because it would seem that the issue is not as "safe" as they would like us to believe. Oh, and no incidents/accidents? Guess you missed what has gone on in France (3 times at the same plant), Ohio, South Africa, Germany, Yankee, etc. So, to say it is "safe" and that incidents are not likely to be a problem----is NOT the truth. Kelly, you are the Editor of the MHN and I would have thought you would have at least based your statements on fact as opposed to good old Don's DVD to the people of Elmore County. We deserve better, we really do.

So, remind me again how great this plan is because I forgot the "pro" side of the issue since it is neither "safe" nor "green" be definition.

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Wed, Mar 25, 2009, at 12:51 PM

I am not against nuclear power at all. I do have problems with AEHI and how they have handled themselves not only in Elmore County but in Owyhee County as well. They seem to be harder to pin down than a politician when asked a simple question. At the meeting I was at, AEHI was asked if they looked at any other areas in Elmore County such as the industrial zone off Simco Rd. They stated they had not even given that a thought. Funny, one would have thought they would have looked at more than one area. They also stated that water was not as available in this area. The Council pointed out that according to AEHI, they pipe water from Northen Mexico to Southern Texas, a distance of 50 miles so why could they not do this here. AEHI had not even thought of that and gave very vague answers to this question. So in conclusion, I support nuclear power but not with the current company that is attempting it.

-- Posted by Old guy on Wed, Mar 25, 2009, at 9:02 PM

Here we go with the Safety issues again. OM tell me how many major incidents have happened with nuclear power in the United States. Only one that I can think of which was Three Mile Island and even thought that was considered a catastrophic accident, no death resulted form this incident. Give me any accident within the US. Not foreign nations. The reason that I exclude many foreign nations is because their regulations are not nearly as restrictive as ours which make our plants safer. Kelly is 100% right when it come to the safety and regulation of these plants.

If you want to attack AEHI over the company policy or finance issues be my guest. I don't have much knowledge about that issue so I won't even argue with you about that but please quite trying to scare people with the belief that these plants are unsafe. That is simply an untrue statement with absolutely no proof to back it up.

-- Posted by Guardian on Thu, Mar 26, 2009, at 12:51 PM

Good blog, Kelly. There are so many opinions and so much information that the brain can explode. You summed it up in a simple statement. Quality of life versus jobs.

It makes me think of what I wrote in another blog once. It was this example: I have money in one hand and a better way of life in the other. One benefits in the here and now! The other takes time and effort but the outcome is better. Which do we choose?

Do we want the jobs and the money that it brings? Or do we preserve our quality of life and continue to work towards keeping our town the way we want it? Change is scary! Our quiet way of life is a pretty hard thing to give up. I mean, just a few moments in Boise makes me want to scream! I can't wait to get my business done and head back home. I come from the south where my kids couldn't play outside for fear of a drive-by shooting. I came from a crowded area that is growing so fast that the minority is now the majority and vice-versa. I was brought up north, kicking and screaming (in a southern twangy way)cause I didn't want to live with Yankees. (NOTE: that is what I thought back then) It's been over 11 years and now, I would have to be bound and gagged, thrown into a truck; kicking and screaming (in a muffled way cause of the gag) before I'd ever move down there again. This is my home and I love it here. And if my southern brethren call me Yankee, then so be it!

As for the plant? I am undecided, personally. I have to know more, weigh the pros and cons and come to a firm decision. Until then, I will gather opinions and facts. Then I want a vote for the people to decide.

Kelly, the people of Elmore will be looking to read information in order to make that informed decision. So you have an important role here. Keep up the battle of words. Report the facts. And many will read it. Express your personal opinion here on the blogs and many will read it. I can seperate the two. You have the responsiblity to report without opinion in the paper. And you have the right to express your opinion in this forum. Others must keep that in mind.

-- Posted by kimkovac on Thu, Mar 26, 2009, at 1:06 PM

Guardian, as I have stated before---it is not the "major" issues that I worry about such as a melt down because that will kill all of us and at that point, not much will matter. I worry about the radioactive waste that "leaks" that is not found for months and even years (leaks into other areas such as lakes and rivers). You can go to the NRC web page, just as I stated and read all about what is going on in the US with these plants---but then again, you already know that and you know that there are "incidents" as well. I do not have to use scare tactics. If you read the facts, such as the incident/accident reports, that tells the story. I do not need to make up my own as I go along, the NRC has already done the work for me. Have a good night. Thank you presenting a factual representation of the nuclear industry for your children and grandchildren and future generations.

-- Posted by OpinionMissy on Thu, Mar 26, 2009, at 6:46 PM

I am not sold on the "100% safety" term that has been tossed around; I think there may well be future realizations that will be very troublesome, as OM says.

I think that, as the editor has stated, it's a question of land use.

I think the promise of jobs is a strong temptation in these times, but should be resisted.

And the way the company operates, well, that really turns me off.

-- Posted by senior lady on Mon, Mar 30, 2009, at 9:57 AM

Pros and Cons and good and all. Both sides have some room to stand on...some more than others. Fact of the matter is we are running out of power. Idaho Power is now placing "remotes" on farmers pumps so they will be shut off for 4 hours a day in order to help 'roll' the power around. This is not a retirement community, we cannot keep everyone out of here trying to keep our small town the way it is. Have you looked at statistics of the people born vs. die every day? It will never stay small and I'm willing to bet the same people that helped in keeping Home Depot out of Mountain Home are the same ones that get frustrated with having to drive to Boise to get stupid little things.

As for the nuclear waste that will be produced...there is building plans for a plant in northern Idaho that will use the waste as fuel/energy. It will condense the waste to grams per person every year. This method is tried and true. Wind power is wonderful and if it was more efficient it would be the ideal source. Just yesterday I looked across the plain to the wind tourbines and 15% were not running. It was a very windy day yesterday so there was no reason to have it not running unless 1) for maintnence or 2) the power lines cannot handle that much power coming through. If 1 is true these tourbines are BRAND NEW!!!! If 2 is true then if the wind power went forward we can expect our front lawns to be littered with power poles so we can harvest more energy.

I understand that you all have your concerns and are warranted every concern you have but like was stated before...don't stop researching when what you have found out suits your needs. When concerning health questions do you only go to one website and take it's words as gold? We can all sit here and argue and argue but there is no point in it if everyone is going to dig their heels in and not learn anything from eachother and do our own research.

As for who the company is? Do you really think we are going to get a wonderfully honest, polite and sincere person to ever come to this town and have the money to do something big? C'mon. That's like asking for a politician that will answer a question honest and upfront without trying to manipulate it, atleast a little, to help themselves. We all do it as some point but we call it a "white lie" or "twisting the truth" or "I told the truth, just not the whole truth". It's done so much there are even little names for it.

-- Posted by farmerswife on Mon, Mar 30, 2009, at 6:04 PM

I just want to give praise to who wrote this blog. It covers the issue quite well.

-- Posted by twilcox1978 on Wed, Apr 1, 2009, at 5:03 PM

farmerswife: I've noticed that the wind turbines are not working a lot for some reason, and it has always made me wonder why. The original ones by Hagerman have always had a unit or more down since they were first built. Anyone out there know the reason?

-- Posted by skeeter on Thu, Apr 2, 2009, at 4:39 PM

...YOU ARE FURTHER NOTIFIED that Fossil Gulch desires to utilize seven 1.5 MW

wind turbine generators. To avoid pushing the Project above the 10 MW nameplate capacity,

Fossil Gulch has agreed to adjust the controls on its turbine generators so that in aggregate, the

electrical output of the seven wind turbines will not exceed 10 000 kWh in any hour. If energy

in excess of this amount ("Inadvertent Energy ) is accidentally generated, Idaho Power will not

purchase or pay for it.

YOU ARE FURTHER NOTIFIED that because Fossil Gulch has agreed to limit its

generation below 10 000 kWh per hour, and in recognition of the benefits of encouraging the

development of a wind energy project in its control area, Idaho Power requests the Commission

approve the use of published Qualified Facility (QF) avoided cost rates for this Project, even

though the Project's nameplate capacity exceeds 10 MW. Idaho Power notes that the

Commission recently approved a Firm Energy Sales Agreement with J.R. Simplot Company that

included the same Inadvertent Energy provisions. Order No. 29577. The Agreement includes

the 90%/10% band provisions that were included in the Tiber, United Materials, Renewable

Energy and J.R. Simp lot Agreements (Case Nos. IPC- 03- , IPC- 04- , IPC- 04- , and IPC-

04- , respectively)...

I found this information at http://www.puc.idaho.gov/internet/cases/...

I believe this is the answer to your question. They shut some down so they do not exceed what Idaho Power will pay them for. There are generators at the tops of these turbines that require power so if they go over they will actaully be paying the power to operate the (extra) turbine(s) and will not get paid for the energy produced. I have found that the Hagerman tourbine farm is refered to as the Fossil Gulch Wind Farm. So I would assume that on windier days more power can be "harvested" from a single tourbine than on less windy days. This would be why it varies from day to day on how many are "running". Hope this helps. Have a good night. :)

-- Posted by farmerswife on Thu, Apr 2, 2009, at 10:38 PM

So I got off the computer and realized that something is still bothering me. When we need power so badly why is Idaho power limiting what they will pay for. Is it maybe that wind power isn't as ideal as we all think? Why are we limiting this commodity? I wonder if it has to do with the frost/snow/ice in the winters and the lack of available wind in the summer. Fall and Spring are the times for wind harvest. Is this why the nuclear plant is being pushed for so hard? Because it could produce power year round? I will admit I am pro-plant but I still like the facts and to know the truth behind it all. This makes me ask questions.

Idaho power is "asking for wind power companies to submit proposals for generating up to 200 Mw". A 'Proven Energy 15 kW 300V Wind Turbine Grid Tie with 80' Tower, Foundation Kit, Rectifier, & Inverter' costs $99,900 without being delivered. Idaho Power pays 5.5 cents per Kw hour and they are asking owners to slow them down or shut them off because they don't want to contract for more energy? Each contract is for a 20 year term. No matter how much things change in 20 years they can't give us more because of the prior contract? I'm confused...is this how Idaho is supposed to be "asking for wind power companies to submit proposals for generating up to 200 Mw"? Doesn't sound very convincing to me. No wonder why we need power so badly. I'm 22 years old and I can figure this out. This is ridiculous!

-- Posted by farmerswife on Thu, Apr 2, 2009, at 11:27 PM

Great article, why was I unsurprised to see MissyOpinion trying to subvert the accurate portrayal of this issue. She takes issues with waste storage, but the U.S. has long been moving toward a single repository for management of spent nuclear fuel, Yucca Mountain. Spent nuclear fuel is not going to be sitting in Clorox buckets next to I-84, it is going to be in vetted and tested containers and shipped to an appropriate storage facility. Again, it is going to be managed by professionals using the best technology available. If the mismanagement of spent fuel was so problematic, why is the National Lab not glowing in the dark?

-- Posted by leland73 on Fri, Apr 10, 2009, at 2:50 PM


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