This week, the Bannock County Commissioners put a 180-day moratorium on all large-scale energy production projects on private land within the County. We modeled our moratorium after one created by Twin Falls County.
Currently, Bannock County needs an ordinance governing energy generation projects. Examples of energy generation projects would be windmills or solar farms. If a developer wanted to apply for a conditional use permit for an energy project, we would have no choice but to grant the permit by State statute.
I was the Commissioner who brought the moratorium proposal forward and advocated for its passing. My reasoning behind wanting the moratorium was to allow us to get the community’s input and put an ordinance that made sense. I wanted to be proactive. The passing of the moratorium doesn’t mean we are against these projects. Instead, it means we take a thoughtful and deliberate approach to potential growth opportunities.
The pause allows us to consider the potential impacts of these large-scale energy production projects. Some effects discussed were environmental, habitat, recreational, and decommissioning.
As someone pro-growth and for economic development, putting this moratorium in place was important for several reasons. First, while I believe in growth, I recognize that not all change is good. If we can be somewhat selective in the projects we accept, we can manage the development and maintain the area’s identity. Second, we can make better decisions and create better ordinances in a proactive mode rather than a reactive state. By taking time to gather more information and evaluate what others have done, we can keep emotion out of the equation and create a better product.
I love our home and want all the opportunities available to our citizens. This six-month hold on energy projects allows us to protect our future while encouraging the development we need to grow. You can watch the discussion here (it starts at 17:30): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2Uh4PNKLXg