Idaho governor says no to coal, yes to whoopin’ it up

Exhibiting the flair and confidence only a short-timer can afford, Idaho Gov. Jim Risch (R) has announced that the state don’t need no stinkin’ coal. Risch, who took office when Dirk Kempthorne resigned in May to head the Interior Department, will step down when the term ends in January. So why not have some fun? The guv will opt out of a federal mercury-trading program Kempthorne committed to, and told a cheering crowd on Wednesday that the state can meet its energy needs without mercury-spewing, coal-fired power plants — in particular, one proposed by Sempra Energy. “Had that plant been constructed, it would have been the largest polluter of mercury in the state,” Risch said. “That is simply not going to happen on my watch.” Which ends, as we might have mentioned, real dang soon. But activists in Idaho — one of only three states without a single coal-fired plant — have high hopes. Risch’s decision “shows what people can do if they care,” said a member of the state’s Board of Environmental Quality. Aww.