AEHI and Nuclear Energy in Idaho: Still a Crazy Idea

AEHI is continuing to advance their ill-conceived reactor proposal in both Elmore and Payette counties, and the Alliance continues to monitor the situation in both of these communities by staying in touch with community members and planning staff, testifying at hearings, and releasing information to the media to challenge AEHI’s claims about their proposal and nuclear power in general.

On February 22nd, the Payette County Board of Commissioners held a hearing about AEHI’s comprehensive plan amendment. The Board is evaluating whether AEHI’s proposal to amend the comprehensive plan and consider a rezoning of 5,000 acres of farmland to heavy industrial, fits the goals of their comprehensive plan. In January, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the Commission approve this amendment. At the hearing, testimony in favor and against was evenly split. On March 1st, the Alliance was granted 30 minutes before the Commission to share our concerns about the impacts of the amendment to land, water, and quality of life in the area, as well as to contest the probability that AEHI can finance their proposal, and their ability to transmit power from the site. The local group opposing the plant, People for Payette’s Future, also spoke in opposition to the proposal. The County Commission will make their final decision on the amendment at 7 pm on March 22nd at the Payette County Courthouse. Even if they choose to amend the comprehensive plan, AEHI will still need to engage in rezone hearings, a development agreement and receive a conditional use permit not to mention a lengthy application process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In Elmore County, the Planning and Zoning Commission has proposed language for a comprehensive plan amendment that would allow for further heavy industrial zones in the county (currently, heavy industry is limited to the Simco Road area). This is not a guarantee that AEHI’s proposed site, on agricultural land less than a mile from the Snake River, would be rezoned. In fact, the amendment language would seem to caution against that outcome, highlighting that any such rezone would need to prove it would not be, “a detriment to existing land uses “and would have, “adequate access to roads, electricity, water and rail”. The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed amendment language on March 31st , at 7 pm, at the American Legion Hall in Mountain Home ( 515 E 2nd South).

Please contact the Alliance if you are interested in attending either of these upcoming meetings, or would like further information. You can email: [email protected] or call 208.344.9161.