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Inherit the Wind

by Staff
Idaho Statesman, July 11, 2007

From Eye on Boise, Betsy Z. Russell's blog at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash.:

"Idaho has so much wind that tumbleweeds pile up along its fence lines and windsurfers careen across its lakes. Yet the 13th-windiest state in the nation lags in wind energy development, even as neighboring Washington, which ranks 24th, has become a leader in capturing power from the wind. Washington ranks fifth in the nation for wind energy production, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Only one wind turbine was installed in Idaho in the past two years, and it was at someone's house. 'Washington has a lot more wind farms than we do, and that is because of policy, not because of wind,' said Todd Haynes, a research engineer at Boise State University and co-owner of a small wind farm.

"Two regulatory cases at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission are now being settled, ending a two-year stalemate that has blocked most new wind energy development in Idaho. As a result, the door could open to development of a renewable resource whose potential eclipses all of Idaho's existing energy resources combined. 'This is huge,' said Gerald Fleischman, an engineer with the Energy Division of the Idaho Department of Water Resources. 'This is not a small, side alternative energy source that it's nice to talk about and it's going to help us out a little bit. That is not what it is. It is a big, monster resource.'"

Sali on salmon

Sixty-five House members have signed onto a bill to require the federal General Accounting Office to re-examine the pros and cons of removing four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington state. But don't count on 1st District Rep. Bill Sali to sign on.

Sali, R-Idaho, says the feds' research should focus instead on ocean conditions, ocean harvest and predators such as sea lions. "The real answers I think are in areas that we haven't studied," Sali told the Statesman editorial board Monday.

Most biologists believe removing the dams would provide Idaho salmon with their best, and perhaps only, chance at recovery.

Inherit the Wind
Idaho Statesman, July 11, 2007

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