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For Nuclear Reactor Peddler AEHI, When It Rains, It Really Pours

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The latest news about Payette County nuclear reactor developer wannabe Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc., was just the latest in a string of really, really bad news for the shuttered business.

Just when it seemed there were no more wheels to come off the moribund project, up pops the U.S. Bureau of Land Management with news that the rare Packard’s milkvetch [Atragalus cusickii var. packardiae], which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently designated as a Candidate Species for protection from extinction under the Endangered Species Act, inhabits a very small piece of territory that’s located right about the spot AEHI chose as the ideal place for its power plant.

“The only place in the world where this rare plant is found is in a 10 square mile area in Payette County,” BLM said in a July 8 news release, which can be found on BLM Idaho’s website at

http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en.html

Among other things, the BLM makes it clear there could be big problems for this plant species should the reactor scheme somehow come out of its coma. According to BLM’s notice and the “U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management Environmental Assessment: Big Willow Packard’s Milkvetch Management,” dated July 1, 2013:

  •  “The effects of future wildland fires are also considered because these natural events are predictable to a certain degree based on the number and size of wildland fires that have occurred in the past decade. Future development of industrially-zoned land directly to the west of the Stone Quarry Gulch will be considered, as a nuclear power plant is planned for that area…”
  • “A nuclear power plant is planned to be constructed on a 5,000 acre parcel along Stone Quarry Road and Big Willow Road, abutting the western boundary of the Big Willow area. Payette County’s general plan was amended in 2011 and the property was rezoned as industrial to make way for the nuclear power plant. The company is currently testing the site and seeking approval by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission…. Construction of the power plant would result in increased usage of the Big Willow area, as it would bring 5,000 new construction jobs for five years and 1,000 permanent jobs to the site…”
  • “The construction of a nuclear power plant adjacent to the OHV area would attract greater recreational use and consequently greater adverse impacts to watershed and vegetation conditions…”
  • “Substantial increases in use, particularly those associated with construction and operation of a nuclear power plant, will cause major increases in disturbance levels over the long term…”
  • “Construction and operation of a nuclear power plant would cause a major loss of wildlife habitat (primarily exotic annuals) and moderate to major increases in disturbance [e.g., lights, vehicles, noise]…”

BLM’s action doesn’t leave too many questions unanswered, except possibly how a company that has claimed to have conducted thorough environmental reviews required to select its perfect site for a nuclear power plant could have chosen almost the exact spot that a rare plant species exists?

It took four years from the time the company arrived in Idaho only to be rejected by two counties before finally being embraced in Payette with promises of nuclear jobs to the time its assets were temporarily frozen by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] in a case that is still pending in federal court in Boise. It took even less time for federal wildlife officials to blow the whistle.

Which leads once again to AEHI’s seemingly hopeless struggles in U.S. District Court in Boise, where it continues to see its fortunes evaporate along with any chances of surviving as a going concern. Here are just some of the recent developments in the past few months that raise even more questions about AEHI’s ability to pay its bills, let alone build a multibillion-dollar nuclear reactor.

AEHI ‘s last news release was issued May 31, promising: “AEHI remains dedicated to its proposed project of building a nuclear power plant in Payette County, Idaho. The project has been delayed due to a lengthy civil suit filed by the SEC, but the company’s dedication to the project has not changed. AEHI believes once the SEC litigation is finalized, the company will be able to resume normal business, which includes the continuation of the project in Idaho.”

In order to do that, AEHI will need to return to the business of raising money, which means trying to sell stock, which has been selling at a penny a share but on July 18 was listed at $0.00 a share. Aside from a filing to the SEC notifying the government of the hiring of a new president, the only forms AEHI has been filing with the federal securities police have been to notify the government it can’t afford to file required reporting forms because it can no longer afford to have them prepared.

“The registrant currently does not have funds to pay its independent auditor to review its financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, or to complete its audit of the registrant’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2012,” the company wrote.

Meanwhile, getting out from under the SEC civil case will be extremely complicated, judging from recent court filings in the case.

In a June 25, 2013, filing in U.S. District Court, AEHI said it missed a filing deadline set by the court because it didn’t have an attorney. It said it has paid more than $1.5 million in legal fees, had a cash balance of $105,000 and attorneys are seeking additional legal fees of $770,000. More alarming, if not mystifying, AEHI said it has monthly expenses of $30,000, “but is unable to pay many of its regular expense items, such as executive salaries. For instance, AEHI has not paid its president, Pete Honeysett, or its chief financial officer, Rick Bucci, for months. While AEHI continues trying to find ways to finance its defense against the SEC’s action, it has almost no funds available for ordinary operating expenses, let alone attorney fees.”

President Honeysett filed an affidavit June 25 saying AEHI reached its insurance coverage limit with its insurer, Federal Insurance Company, so now it really doesn’t have the cash to pay lawyers. He said AEHI had a cash balance of $2,509 against those monthly operating expenses of $30,000, although it’s not clear what those operating expenses consist of, especially since AEHI closed its office doors months ago.

“Paying the penalties sought by the SEC in this action could bankrupt AEHI and bar it from ever providing any kind of return to its shareholders,” Honeysett said. “The only chance AEHI’s shareholders have for recovery is in creation of value through development or sale of AEHI’s nuclear development site.”

Good luck with that, was essentially the June 28 response by the SEC, which is asking the court to issue an order of default against AEHI for multiple reasons. The SEC is also asking the court to freeze $2 million in AEHI shareholder’s funds held in a Nevada bank account and was AEHI’s last gasp at a financing deal to try to find more cash. That’s about all that’s left of AEHI, or as the SEC put it: “In the meantime, the Commission, and AEHI’s shareholders, have been deprived of the last remaining funds illegally raised by AEHI.”

According to the SEC’s filing: “Further confusing the record, Honeysett also states: ‘Currently, AEHI has a cash balance of  $2,509.14 and operating expenses of approximately $30,000 per month.’ Yet, AEHI has no operations.”

So the SEC has asked the court to grant judgment against AEHI on grounds it violated multiple sections of federal securities laws. The ball is now back with the court for what may soon become the epilogue in the long saga of Idaho’s Nuclear Nomad.

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