Friday, September 26, 2008

Snake River Alliance sued for defamation

Lawsuit stems from on-air comments made by the groupís executive director

Express Staff Writer

The Snake River Alliance, a Boise-based nuclear power watchdog and clean energy advocate, has been sued by Alternative Energy Holdings Inc. for alleged defamation of character.

The alliance has secured local legal counsel, a news release from the organization states.

Alternative Energy Holdings has proposed construction of a 1,600-megawatt nuclear reactor in Elmore County. Previously, the company had pursued plans to build the reactor to the south in Owyhee County.

The alliance has repeatedly questioned Alternative Energy Holdings' ability to raise the necessary funds from outside investors to complete the massive energy project. Despite the lawsuit, the group hasn't shown any inclination to back down.

"The case is pending and we have secured legal counsel," said Snake River Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley. "We won't be detoured from doing our job."

The lawsuit stems from comments Shipley allegedly made during a television interview with Boise reporter Joni Shriver of KTVB Channel 7 on Aug. 11.

A news release from Alternative Energy Holdings states that Shipley defamed the company during a discussion about its finances by calling it "scammers" and saying "regardless of how you feel about nuclear energy, these guys are scamming Idahoans."

According to Don Gillispie, president and CEO of Alternative Energy Holdings, the comments crossed the line. Gillispie said the comments insult the company's investors and appear to be intended to defame the company and reduce the value of its stock.

"Our board, our team and our investors deserve better than for Andrea Shipley to compare them to criminals," he said.

The news release from the Snake River Alliance states the company has told Idahoans it has lined up three investment entities to finance the cost of the multi-billion-dollar reactor and assorted applications.

"So far, no company has stepped up with the cash needed," the news release states.

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