Letters to the editor-11-22-2013

November 22, 2013 

Idaho Power

Idaho Power has many renewable energy possibilities, yet nearly half of the electricity Idahoans use comes from toxic coal-fired plants. Shockingly, Idaho Power plans to invest Idaho ratepayers' (your and my) money, $130 million, on one of the nation’s dirtiest coal plants in Wyoming. This expenditure does not address pollution control regulations that could cost ratepayers hundreds of millions of additional dollars.

This plan for a coal-fired power plant is not only destructive to the climate and environment, but it's a huge financial risk to ratepayers, not Idaho Power. Burning coal for electricity is an antiquated technology that will become increasingly more expensive.

We should follow the lead of forward-thinking utilities and begin pursuing clean alternatives. Rather than relying on toxic out-of-state coal fired power plants, wind, solar and energy efficiencies can meet Idaho's energy needs while creating high paying jobs in Idaho.

The PUC should stop Idaho's addiction to coal. There will be a hearing in Boise on Nov. 25 concerning the plans to invest in the Wyoming coal-fired plant. Please come out to the hearing and ask the PUC to mandate Idaho Power to review all foreseeable costs before handing ratepayers the bill for $130 million plus.

RUTH MERRILL, Boise

Idaho Power wants to spend $130 million to upgrade Jim Bridger coal plant in Wyoming, and is asking the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for permission to pass some of the expense to its customers. What they don’t make clear in their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is that this only addresses current emissions requirements. For example, it does not include the cost of complying with upcoming mercury, greenhouse gas or coal ash regulations.

Idaho Power can be expected to come back to the PUC with more rate increases as new regulations are passed down.

There is a reason that construction was not started on a single new coal-fired power plant in the United States in 2009 and 2010. Kevin Parker of Deutsche Bank stated, “Coal is a dead man walkin'. Banks won’t finance them. Insurance companies won't insure them. The EPA is coming after them. ... And the economics to make it clean don't work.”

At the very least, Idaho Power must produce an IRP that includes a thorough assessment of future financial risk. The Idaho PUC will hear comments at a public hearing downtown on Monday, Nov. 25, 7 p.m. at 472 W. Washington St., Boise.

STEVEN O. ELLIS, Boise

Mark Patterson

I have viewed with outrage and dismay the events surrounding Mr. Patterson's application for a concealed weapons permit.

He is a felon and shouldn’t be allowed to own a firearm concealed or otherwise. A weapons permit is not the issue. The elephant in the room that no one seems to want to address is the nature of the crime for which he was convicted.

Short of murder, I can think of no crime worse than sexual assault on a woman or child. Rape, or the threat of rape, leaves emotional scars that can last a lifetime on a victim. It is obvious to me, in light of his statements and threats against our sheriff, he is unrepentant and is willing to do almost anything to divert attention from his crime.

Why isn't Patterson required to register as a sex offender? Why aren't the women of District 15 picketing his home and place of business? And why, for heaven sake, haven't the local media organizations brought up the subject? This man is worthy of nothing but our contempt. He has shown himself to be an unrepentant liar and is unworthy to represent his district or this State.

JOHN ULINDER, Boise

The controversy that surrounds Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, poses an interesting dilemma for both leaders of the Legislature: Speaker Scott Bedke and Majority Leader Mike Moyle.

It would seem that they have a responsibility to the citizens of Idaho by demonstrating that the integrity of the Legislature and conduct of its members is more important than circling the wagons in support of one of their own. Unfortunately, election in Idaho is as elementary as having an “R” following the candidate’s name on the ballot. In this case, however, all the evidence supports the fact(s) that Rep. Patterson has deceived the electorate casting doubt on his character and ideals. It is fundamental that elected officials be held to high standards; the question is whether Speaker Bedke and Majority Leader Moyle agree.

Meanwhile, Rep. Patterson has made a mockery of the election process. He should immediately submit his resignation.

BOYD L. MAUER, Boise

Bullying

Bullying is the hot topic in the news and it’s mostly about school kids. Many people seem surprised; I am not. Our children see bullying everywhere.

1. It’s in the home between spouses, parents and the children.

2. Many sports are loaded with hazing, bullying and violence.

3. It’s all over entertainment video games, both big and little screens, and family hour is hardly worth watching.

4. The animal kingdom nearly always has a pecking order.

5. The business world is about dog eat dog, to survive.

6. Both law enforcement and military take a bad rap here.

7. Schools have a ton of problems here with hazing, color, size, cliques and the student who is always left out.

8. In science education class the kids are taught they are descendants of animals so occasionally they act like one.

9. I almost forgot: Congress and the president as bullying and threat go on here all the time. The president even has a bully pulpit.

Religion is a topic for another day. So what is the answer? Not another peace symbol. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is the answer.

CURT VIESELMEYER, Boise

Statins

Follow the Money!

So statin cholesterol-reducing drugs will now be recommended for one third of the adult population, based on new guidelines (New Guidelines for Preventing Heart Attack, Stroke; Statesman, Nov. 13). That would more than double the current use rate. Pardon my cynicism, but presumably this new stance is a result of research (it is a result of research, right?). Would anyone care to bet who paid for the research? Like, say, the drug companies?

JEFF CROWELL, Meridian

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