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Wind moratorium bill blows through second day  

Credit:  Melissa Vera, www.boiseweekly.com 21 March 2011 ~~

Lawmakers spent a second day today considering wind power in Idaho.

Republican Rep. Erik Simpson of Idaho Falls wants to put a two-year moratorium on new wind power projects.

“Energy developers are gaming the system,” Simpson told Citydesk following this morning’s hearing before the House State Affairs Committee.

Simpson said large corporations are taking advantage of the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, requiring large power utilities to purchase electricity generated by renewable sources. Simpson testified that corporations, such as General Electric, were building mini wind farms, thus increasing the rates for everyone else.

A number of environmental groups also came out in force in support of a moratorium. Representatives from Idaho Conservation League and Western Watershed Projects suggested that renewable energy projects in Idaho were not being put in appropriate places.

“Energy developments should focus on private or severely altered lands that are located close to points of use to minimize new disturbances or further fragmentation of fragile, native ecosystems,” said Brian Ertz of WWP.

The House committee is expected to take up debate and a vote on the measure Tuesday or Wednesday.

Source:  Melissa Vera, www.boiseweekly.com 21 March 2011

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