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Eye On Boise

Tue., Feb. 28, 2012, 12:53 p.m.

Revised state energy plan clears House, 56-9

The House has voted 56-9 in favor of the newly revised Idaho Energy Plan, HCR 34. Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, said Idaho enjoys some of the lowest electric rates in the nation, but at the same time, "Idaho's position as an importer of more than 80 percent of our energy needs leaves Idaho vulnerable to issues that are outside of our control." The plan, he said, calls for "robust development" of a "broad range of ... power generation resources," including promoting conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable resources. Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, said if the plan promotes renewables over more traditional power sources, she won't support it; she voted no.

Eskridge said, "It provides some guidance ... for the legislators and others to look at as we plan our future energy policy. ... For the benefit our citizens, we need a diverse energy supply at the lowest cost possible. ... We have some potential within our own state borders to develop our own energy resources." The resolution now moves to the Senate; it includes a minority report on concepts that weren't supported by the majority of the Legislature's interim energy committee, including establishment of a citizen advocate in the utility rate-setting process, which Idaho now lacks.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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