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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Congress Spending Bill Rider Could Slow Down ID Wind Energy Installation

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Monday, July 24, 2023   

A spending bill in Washington, D.C. includes a provision to conduct further study of wind energy before its installation in Idaho. Critics say the provision could slow down wind power's rollout.

A rider added to an appropriations bill in Congress stipulates that funds won't be available for wind energy in Idaho until the U.S. Comptroller General completes a study of its environmental impact.

The report must identify potential adverse impacts to wildlife, cultural resources, hunting and other things.

However, Brad Heusinkveld - energy policy associate with the Idaho Conservation League - said this is redundant.

"What this bill is doing is essentially duplicating a lot of that analysis - that's already existing and ongoing for a number of projects - into another office," said Heusinkveld. "So essentially adding more process that's duplicative and unnecessary for these projects."

Heusinkveld said the federal government already collects the same information under the National Environmental Policy Act when permitting new energy projects. He noted that the permitting stage is already lengthy.

The rider is attached to an appropriations bill for the Interior and Energy departments and related agencies.

Heusinkveld said the grid in the West is evolving and we're likely on the leading edge of an emerging renewable energy economy.

"It's coming, and we hope to make wise and informed siting decisions," said Heusinkveld, "and we don't necessarily think that this bill adds to that process."

Wind is the third most used source of energy in Idaho's grid, accounting for 17% of the state's power supply in 2022.


Disclosure: Idaho Conservation League contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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