The hearing on HB 250, to extend Idaho’s renewable energy tax credit, is going to be continued tomorrow morning, House Rev & Tax Chairman Dennis Lake said, as the House goes on the floor at 10 a.m. and there are still several people left to testify. Among those testifying so far:
Idaho Falls resident Anne Detrick told the committee, “I’m here to put a personal face on this discussion.” She said she moved to Idaho four years ago after retiring after decades as a registered nurse, “to buy a piece of land and retire.” She said, “I’m now looking at having 75 turbines go up on the land across from my home. … On my street there are going to be eight families looking at financial ruin because after these turbines go up our land will no longer be marketable. … I know that homeowners who want to put turbines on their property are here to make money, and I can’t say that’s a bad thing, but I’m here to protect what I’ve worked a lifetime to earn.” She urged against extending the sales tax rebate, saying Idaho should use that money for education or public safety instead.
Doug Glaspey, president of Boise-based U.S. Geothermal, testified in favor of the extension. “We’re a small company – we started with two guys and a pickup truck,” he said. His firm now has 24 employees between its Boise corporate office and its Raft River geothermal plant in Cassia County, and an annual payroll of more than $2.2 million. “These are good paying jobs,” he said. “We want to continue to grow.” He told lawmakers, “I guess the ultimate question is does the tax rebate really make that difference in the project, whether they build it or not. … We think it does.”
Two brothers from Bonneville County who are dryland farmers, Tory and Trent Talbot, said they want to continue farming the same ground their grandfather farmed, and that wind turbines there don’t hurt wildlife or keep them from farming. They said only a “small minority” of people in their community oppose the turbines.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review’s bureau in Boise.
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