HB 791, placing a two-year moratorium on development of new coal-fired power plants in Idaho, just passed the Senate on a 30-5 vote – but the project that prompted the moratorium is off. Lobbyist Roy Eiguren distributed copies of a letter today from Sempra Generation to the governor, in which the San Diego, Calif. firm said it’s decided to sell the development rights to the coal plant it had proposed in Jerome County. In the letter, Sempra president Michael Niggli said the Jerome County site “offers prospective owners excellent access to rail, existing transmission, land and water rights.”
But the proposal had raised huge opposition – particularly because it would have used Idaho water and created Idaho pollution in order to generate power for use elsewhere. The two-year moratorium bill, which now goes to the governor, was sponsored by a bipartisan group of six lawmakers, including House Speaker Bruce Newcomb.