Idaho Aims to Block Sempra Coal

By Published On: February 3, 2006

Idaho Senate minority leader Clint Stennett introduced a series of state bills aimed at blocking development of the $1.4 billion, 600 MW coal-fired power plant that Sempra Generation wants to build in Jerome County, Idaho. Saying he is “asking for a time-out,” Stennett introduced his Senate Bill 1274, which would place a moratorium on construction of new coal-fired power plants until April 1, 2007. The Sempra plant would provide electricity mostly to Pacific Northwest power markets. Transmission constraints would make it difficult for energy generated at the plant to make it to California markets. Another bill, SB 1294, would require that merchant power plants that do not fall under the authority of state regulators be assessed by taxing authorities as if they are owned by regulated utilities. The measure would redistribute taxes brought in by a merchant power plant. A third bill, SB 1293, would require coal-fired power plants to emit no mercury emissions. It would put into statute the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s zero emissions limit. If built, the Jerome plant could emit between 100 and 160 pounds of mercury annually. The bills still need to be assigned to committee for consideration.

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