Gov. Jim Risch signed an order that essentially keeps mercury-emitting coal-fired power plants out of Idaho. "I have concluded that it is unwise and imprudent to opt into the federal mercury program," Risch told 50 onlookers at the Twin Falls Visitor Center. "I can tell you without question that Idahoans value their clean air and clean water," Risch said.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Board also recommended drafting state rules to keep Idaho coal-plant free. However, Idaho Power Co. spokesman Dennis Lopez pointed out that the utility relies heavily on out-of-state coal plants, along with hydropower, to meet demand. Earlier this summer, the company said it wants to build a coal-fired power plant at an unannounced location in Idaho.