(Senator James Risch News Release, October 25, 2023)
U.S. Senator Jim Risch with Senator Mike Crapo, Congressman Mike Simpson, and Congressman Russ Fulcher (all R-Idaho) today introduced the Don’t Develop Obstructive Infrastructure on our Terrain (Don’t DO IT) Act. The Don’t DO IT Act would require the Secretary of the Interior deny any wind or solar energy project proposed on public land that is disapproved of by the State legislature.
Idaho’s State legislature unanimously passed a resolution in March 2023 expressing opposition to the Lava Ridge Wind Energy Project in Southern Idaho, a 370 turbine project spanning 146,000 acres. Among other concerns, the proposed Lava Ridge project would visually compromise the Minidoka National Historic Site, a relocation site where more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during World War Two.
“Idahoans have been loud and clear on Lava Ridge: Don’t DO IT! Yet, the Department of the Interior is still moving full speed ahead,” said Risch. “The Don’t DO IT Act will empower Idaho and other states to prevent the federal government from implementing unwanted, obstructive, and misaligned wind and solar energy projects on public land, like Lava Ridge.”
“Idahoans know what is best for their land and livelihoods,” said Crapo. “Allowing state legislatures to have oversight on new wind and solar projects on federal land means the federal government and its agencies take into consideration the will of the people closest to the project.”
“The Lava Ridge Wind Project has proven to be out of touch with Idahoans,” said Simpson. “Throughout the last year, I have taken significant actions in opposing this project and advocating for Idaho’s best interests. The Don’t DO IT Act is common-sense legislation that puts the people of Idaho first. I will always work to protect Idahoans’ way of life, and I am proud to work with the Idaho Delegation and ensure the Magic Valley is not trampled by this proposal.”
“I appreciate working with Congressman Simpson, Senator Risch, and Senator Crapo to prevent the federal government from trying to run roughshod over the State of Idaho when it comes to energy projects that can’t make it on their own in the market. With my colleagues, I opposed the Lava Ridge Wind Project because it undermined Idahoans’ way of life. I stand with my colleagues and the people of Idaho in supporting the Don’t DO IT Act,” said Fulcher.
“States need to be at the table driving new energy resources, and this legislation will make the federal government more responsive to states’ voices in future energy development. I appreciate Senator Risch’s work on this important bill,” said Idaho Governor Brad Little.
“Senator Risch’s commitment to addressing the concerns of many Idahoans potentially impacted by huge infrastructure projects on public land is commendable. His willingness to stand up to the Federal Government is a testament to his dedication to public service and understanding that decisions regarding public lands in Idaho should be made in Idaho, not Washington D.C,” said Seth Grigg, Executive Director of the Idaho Association of Counties.
In May, Risch questioned Interior Secretary Deb Haaland about the Lava Ridge project. Secretary Haaland was unable to answer basic questions about the project, including the significance of the Minidoka National Historic Site and how the Lava Ridge project would drastically impair the site’s surrounding landscape, but claimed the Agency listens to people and gets their input. Risch outlined the widespread and bipartisan list of critics who have said “don’t do it” regarding the project, including:
- Idaho BLM’s Resource Advisory Council;
- Seven Idaho counties in the surrounding area;
- The Friends of Minidoka;
- The broader Japanese-American community;
- Senator Risch, Governor Little, Lieutenant Governor Bedke, and the entire Idaho delegation; and
- Thousands of everyday Idahoans, including farmers, ranchers, sportsmen, and more.