Rep. Wayne Owens agrees with the Bureau of Land Management that a new environmental impact study will have to be made if a Nevada man revives the Thousand Springs Power Plant upwind of Utah's Wasatch Front.
Bureau of Land Management officials in Nevada said Reno developer Joe Gremban cannot adapt an older environmental impact statement (EIS) to fit his down-sized proposal."It is likely that the changes in the scale and scope of the project you now propose would require public scoping and preparation of an EIS specific to the new project," said BLM Elko District Manager Rodney Harris in a letter to Gremban.
The plant site is 29 miles northeast of Wells, Nev., and 190 miles west of Utah's Wasatch Front. As originally envisioned, the plant would use eight generating units - primarily powered by low-sulphur Utah coal - to produce 2,000 megawatts of power.
The full-scale project died last August when potential electricity markets disappeared, and developers ran into air-quality concerns. The project drew opposition from a number of Idaho and Utah officials, including Owens.
Owens, D-Utah, said Monday he remains leery of the project, even in a reduced mode.
"The BLM is absolutely right when it says the EIS will have to be redone," Owens said.
"Until they convince us that it (Thousand Springs) is not going to hurt Salt Lake County air, I do, absolutely, oppose the project," he said.
Gremban, an executive with the Reno-based utility Sierra-Pacific when the project was first proposed, is now president of Environmental Energy Enterprises. He said the organization is a private group of investors who want to down-size Thousand Springs to two generating units producing 500 megawatts of power.
The Nevada businessman had been the original Thousand Springs project manager for Sierra Pacific. Sierra Pacific headed a consortium of eight utilities and developers to build the $4 billion plant.
One of those partners was Salt Lake City-based independent power producer Bonneville Pacific, which reported earlier this year that it lost $1 million in the venture before backing out late last summer.