Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Judge rules in Snake River Alliance’s favor

Lawsuit against Boise group dismissed—conservationists say they’ll continue their work

Express Staff Writer

A lawsuit filed last fall against the Snake River Alliance, a Boise-based nuclear power watchdog and clean energy advocate, has been dismissed.

The organization and its executive director, Andrea Shipley, were sued by Alternative Energy Holdings Inc. for alleged defamation of character. The lawsuit stemmed from comments Shipley made during a television interview with Boise reporter Joni Shriver of KTVB Channel 7 on Aug. 11.

Alternative Energy Holdings claimed 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."

Speaking last September, Gillispie claimed those comments crossed the line.

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

On Jan. 16 in Boise, Fourth District Court Judge G.D. Casey granted a motion for dismissal made by the Snake River Alliance on the grounds that the controversial statement was a matter of opinion, not fact.

Alternative Energy Holdings has proposed to construct a 1,600-megawatt nuclear reactor in Elmore County. Previously, the company 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.

Shipley said she stands by her earlier comments.

"In his short time in Idaho, Mr. Gillispie has built what appears to me to be a record of misrepresenting the environmental toll his nuclear reactor scheme would take on Idaho," she said. "He has claimed multiple times that he is lining up the financing for his project, yet it has not materialized.

"It's our job to shed light on projects like this."

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