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Wind turbine moratorium bill is introduced to Idaho legislature

BOISE, Idaho – An effort to put a halt to wind turbine construction in Idaho passed its first hurdle Friday morning.

Representative Erik Simpson of Idaho Falls presented a bill that would place a 2-year moratorium on all new wind turbines in the state.

Simpson introduced similar legislation last year but the bill failed to get enough support to pass. This year he has 12 co-sponsors for the bill, including House Speaker Lawrence Denney.

Simpson says wind energy is expensive because utilities are forced to buy it even if they don’t need it. That results in more expensive power that utilities don’t want and the rate payers can’t afford.

He also points out that wind developers receive federal subsidies that help pay for construction costs.

“Imagine being a business owner and 30 percent of your business costs are paid for by the taxpayer,” Simpson says. “That’s whats happening with the wind energy industry. Furthermore, they don’t pay property taxes, they pay a small production tax in lieu of property taxes.”

The bill would stop construction of new turbines and create a legislative task force made up of house and senate members to investigate the impact of wind power on Idaho. They would present a report on July 10, 2014 to state leaders.

This bill will likely get some tough opposition.

A hearing on this bill will likely be scheduled for next week in the House local government committee.