It was Friday morning before Thursday night's hearing in Payette wrapped up, as a Planning and Zoning Commission heard testimony at Alternate Energy Holding's plan to build a nuclear reactor in rural Southwest Idaho.
A five-hour session saw more than 50 citizens, scientists and engineers trade remarks about the proposed $5 billion reactor. Proponents outnumbered opponents 2-1. The critical debate expectedly centered around jobs—AEHI has promised thousands of jobs during construction and full-time operations.
A half-dozen representatives from the Snake River Alliance took to the microphone to question the proposed plant's stress on water, Idaho's need for more power and the economic feasibility of bringing highly skilled jobs into a rural setting.
About three hours into the marathon, Payette P&Z Commissioner Farrell Rawlings said he had heard enough from the Alliance.
"Our governor is in favor of this. Every mayor in this county is in favor of this. I'm offended that there's not one positive thing that you and your group has contributed to this discussion," said Rawlings.
Boredom quickly turned into surliness, and the highly contested issue heated a cold December night. You can read our full coverage in the Dec. 8 issue of BW.