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Sempra Pulls the Plug

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Looking for a nice spot of ground in central Idaho? Maybe something along the highway from Twin Falls to Sun Valley, just a three-wood or so from the biggest Idaho Power transfer station in the area? Then today's your lucky day, because something just opened up. On Thursday, March 29, Sempra Energy announced that it will has dropped its plans to build Idaho's first-ever coal-fired power plant, which was to be located in south central-Idaho just northwest of Jerome.

Idaho lawmakers have been frantically battling the proposed plant ever since realizing last year, "Whoah, whoah--what kind of power plant is coming to central Idaho? And the only people who can stop it are a couple of Jerome County commissioners? Holy mercury emissions, Batman! Let's go write some new laws fast!"

After trying on several different versions of a moratorium on coal-fired plants, the House and Senate finally approved one last week. Although it hasn't been signed into law, Sempra nevertheless sent a letter to Gov. Dirk Kempthorne saying they received the message--or more accurately, that they didn't, but they were leaving anyway.

"No, it was a strategic decision," Sempra president Michael Niggli told the San Diego Union Tribune. Niggli denied that protests to the project had played a large role in the company's decision, saying, "We think they [the Idaho site and another one in Nevada] are excellent sites, and the projects will continue with new owners. We would not be surprised to see them constructed."

Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennet, an opponent of the plant, echoed Niggli's sentiment. After the vote, Stennet told the online news blog New West, "This changes nothing."