Idaho legislature passes two-year moratorium on coal-fired power plants

In a two-for-one snub of President Bush and Idaho Gov. (and likely future Interior Secretary) Dirk Kempthorne (R), Idaho’s Republican-controlled legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill last week that would put a two-year moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in the state. The bill — which says the plants “may have a significant negative impact upon the health, safety, and welfare” of state residents, natural resources, and agriculture — now goes to Kempthorne for his signature or veto. The Kempster’s now squished between the will of Idahoans, who overwhelmingly support the bill, and his future masters in the Bush administration, who overwhelmingly support the coal industry. Hours before the bill passed, California-based Sempra Energy, which had proposed a controversial coal-fired plant for Idaho’s rural Jerome County, withdrew its plans and said it would sell the development rights.