LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

BOISE -- Payette County is now the focus of a nuclear power company's plans to build a new plant.

Alternative Energy Holdings, Inc. of Eagle has had a tough time selling its proposal in other counties but feels optimistic about moving forward in Payette County.

A couple years ago, a site it was eyeing in Owyhee County was determined to be inadequate and Tuesday, the company withdrew its petition to build in Elmore County.

Now, the company CEO has set his sights on Payette County for a nuclear power plant.

The promises are big for the county that takes on the plant: 5,000 construction jobs at a salary of $60,000. 1,000 jobs during operations would pay at least $80,000. Not to mention, the revenue that could flow into county and state coffers.

If you can jump up the GDP in the state by ten percent, create thousands of jobs, jobs that pay $80,000-$100,000 a year, who would be against it when it has a perfect safety record? said Don Gillispie, CEO of Alternative Energy Holdings, Inc.

The answer -- the Snake River Alliance.

Nuclear power is a terrible idea for Idaho. There isn't enough water, it costs too much, it leaves a legacy of waste, said Andrea Shipley of the Snake River Alliance.

Shipley leads the anti-nuclear advocacy group and says Elmore county residents did not support the notion of a nuclear plant in their backyard.

They spoke up -- causing Alternative Energy Holdings to ditch the idea of building there.

Farmers, business owners, residents of the county came together and said, you know we really don't want to amend our comprehensive plan for this kind of activity on this land in our county, said Shipley.

Alternative Energy CEO Don Gillispie says his company got the thumbs up from Elmore County commissioners a couple years ago. But after he submitted a proposal for the plant, the county took too long to make a decision, that is why he withdrew his plan.

We'd spent quite a bit of money and time down there. We found and during that time we sort of, maybe about a year ago, we realized that maybe this could drag on forever, Gillispie said.

Already in the works was a Plan B to build in Payette County, which has now become Plan A.

Gillispie says county commissioners have told him that support for the plant is high with 90% of residents on board.

Payette County has approved Alternative Energy's comprehensive plan for a plant.

He hopes they can educate the skeptics before the public hearings begin.

There's a small group of what we classify as NIMBY's -- not in my backyards, that live about 5 or 6 miles from the site. Even though it's over a thousand foot hill, nowhere in sight of them, they consider it close. They'll show up as well, other than that we've really had no opposition, said Gillispie.

Snake River Alliance is poised to do more education of its own.

Here we go again, we started out in Owyhee County with AEHI in 2007. We went to Elmore county where they withdrew their application and now we're in Payette County. And there is a lot of people in Payette County that oppose this reactor scheme as well. So time will tell, Shipley said.

In the next few months, public hearings will begin to re-zone the land it wants from agriculture to industrial.

The company is also interested in a second plot of land in Payette County.

It would serve as a back-up site for the plant should the first piece of land be denied.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/local/2014/06/27/11530773/