Writings and observations

Without getting into the question of whether a nuclear power plant situated in rural Payette County is a good idea, there were a couple of passages in a recent Boise Weekly article about a hearing on the subject that ought to send up a warning flare for people who live in the county.

The event was a December 2 meeting of the Payette County Planning & Zoning Commission, and the agenda item concerned a proposal to build a nuclear power plant, estimated price $10 billion; the applicant is Alternate Energy Holdings. This proposal, if it materialized, would be very large and have a wide range of impacts, as any very large project must, whether it’s overall a good or bad idea. Logically that would, and in most cases and places does, mean that positive impacts are weighed against negatives. Locally, however, not so much.

At the December 2 meeting, representatives of the Snake River Alliance did offer some concerns. The commission chair responded with this:

“Look here. Our governor is in favor of this. Every mayor in our county is in favor of this. Our chamber of commerce is in favor of this. I’m offended that there’s not one positive thing that you and your group has contributed to this discussion.”

Well, that’s it, then; of course there couldn’t be anything wrong in that case, not if all those people are in favor of it.

The second came with a statement and response on the other side of the equation, from AEH CEO Don Gillespie. The Weekly story recounts: “When Gillispie told commissioners, ‘This county will have more money than you’ll know what to do with,’ many of the commissioners beamed.”

Don’t know about you, but when we encounter promises like that, whether spoken, or on late night TV or in spam emails, we check to make sure we’ve still got our wallets. Evidently, people in Payette are a little more … trusting. At least, those who make the decisions there.

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