A panel of Idaho lawmakers approved big changes to the state's 2007 Idaho Energy Plan in a series of close votes last week, but critics say nearly all of them will weaken the plan by loosening its requirements. Gone from the plan: Support for local-option taxes for transit; encouraging regional land-use planning designed to reduce trips; support for higher fuel efficiency in vehicles; and support for tax incentives for energy efficient technologies. Rejected: Calls to establish a consumer utility advocate's office in Idaho and to offer new help to low-income ratepayers.
“It seemed like the utilities were definitely writing the agenda,” said Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, who serves on the joint legislative panel. Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, the panel's co-chairman, said, “It was a pretty intense exercise, but I think it was worthwhile, it was beneficial.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com; the plan revisions, once finalized, go to the full Legislature for approval in January.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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