Friday, October 21, 2005

Sempra objects to commission's remand

Power company wants weather station approved

Express Staff Writer

A power generation company has filed a formal request with the Jerome County Commission asking that it uphold a lower body's decision to approve a special-use permit for a meteorological station.

Attorneys for Idaho Valley, LLC, a special-purpose subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Generation, filed an objection and request for clarification document Oct. 10.

The Jerome County Planning & Zoning Commission issued on June 6 a special-use permit for a meteorological station. The tower would gather air quality and weather data on a site near Jerome chosen for a proposed 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant.

Information gathered over one year would be used as part of a permit application with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

Upon appeal by Jerome County resident Lee Halper, commissioners remanded the matter back to the P&Z earlier this month.

"It appears ... that certain key issues have not yet been resolved by the board, and the these need to be addressed prior to any remand," the objection reads.

Sempra argues that Halper had no standing to appeal because he will not be adversely affected by the permit's issuance.

"The issue ... is solely about the siting of the weather station," Sempra spokesman Art Larson said Wednesday. "A benign air quality station like this would help the community make an informed decision about a coal-fired power plant in their area.

"We thought due process had been followed," he added. "We wanted to articulate that."

Veronica Leirman, Jerome County Commission chairwoman, said the commission plans to issue a decision by Nov. 4.

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