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County considers a pause on renewable projects |

As more and more renewable projects are proposed for both public and private lands in southern Idaho, the Twin Falls County Commission has heard from a lot of residents who don’t want to see any additional projects in the area.

With the feedback of the community in mind, the commission wants to hit the pause button on large-scale commercial energy development.

Commissioners will consider an ordinance for a 182-day moratorium on permits for large-scale commercial energy projects in the county, and a public hearing will take place at 1:30 pm, Thursday, July 26, at the Commissioner’s Board Room in the County West Building.

Windmills near Milner Butte

Windmills can be seen near Milner Butte on Thursday afternoon, April 13, 2023, west of Burley.

Commissioner Jack Johnson told the Times-News that county ordinances already address energy development such as oil, gas, and hydropower, but there have not been any updates to the county land use plan to address renewables like solar and wind, both of which have become more widespread, and use large areas of land to produce electricity on the commercial – evil.

“We’re seeing a lot of large-scale solar and wind projects,” Johnson said in a phone call. “Our ordinances are just not up to date to deal with these projects that are coming down the line, so we need to take a break to get updated with the planning and zoning commission, so they have something to go off of.”

The moratorium would directly affect private lands, which the county has the authority to permit or deny. Permitting authority for energy development on public lands sits with the federal government, and would not be affected by the moratorium.

The Idaho State Code authorizes county commissions to adopt emergency moratoriums if the board finds an imminent peril to the public health, safety and welfare.

Written comments are accepted by mail to Twin Falls County Commissioners Office, PO Box 126, Twin Falls ID 83303 or by email at commiss@tfco.org.


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