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New State Energy Plan May Need Shock Therapy

January 25, 2007

A new state energy plan will be voted on by an interim committee that puts clean energy development, like wind power, at the top of the priority list. That's something nuclear watchdog Jeremy Maxand with the Snake River Alliance says makes good economic sense. But he points out that the energy plan is lacking in other areas:

"Climate change, siting of merchant plants, making sure that low-income folks can afford their energy bills - those issues were not addressed in the state energy plan."

Maxand adds that the legislature wanted guidelines on dealing with energy producers wanting to move to the state, and he thinks lawmakers will likely be disappointed with the energy plan.

"It remains to be seen whether new coal plants are going to come in, and the whole point of a plan is to provide clarity."

The new energy plan was ordered last year because a coal-fired power "merchant plant" wanted to move in, and lawmakers were unsure of what the rules should be. Maxand says the plan is also missing guidelines for dealing with planned nuclear power projects when it comes to pollution and radioactive and toxic waste.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ID