Is It Rape Or Consensual


Red flags pop up when an industrial company like Hoku Scientific of Hawaii announces plans to locate a new Solar Panel Manufacturing plant at a site somewhere along our Snake River.

When someone wants to put a plant next to a river it isn’t because they want to help the environment! Why along the river and why in Idaho? The Daily Paper and Lame Duck Guv Risch tout “300 jobs” as a good reason to welcome an industrial plant.

Hoku said they decided to locate here because of “Tax Incentives and Tax Breaks” provided by Idaho state government. In light of the secret policy of the Tax Commission toward Cabela’s, we need to find out fast just exactly what is being given away to Hoku.

Like most silicon based technology manufacturing, solar panel production consumes massive amounts of electricity. The Hoku spokesperson was also quoted in the Daily Paper saying that Idaho’s “cheap” electricity was another reason for choosing Idaho over Singapore. Idaho Power’s most recent attempts to raise residential power rates cited record power consumption as one justification for price hikes.

They didn’t say anything about “cheap labor” in a right to work state, but you can bet that was hyped by our state procurers. Also not mentioned were the processes used to convert silicon into useable products.

Who pays for the incentives and tax breaks the politico gang is giving this company? Even with the skewed “pie in the sky” benefits used to justify this sellout (giveaway?), how many of these 300 jobs will go to current residents of Idaho? Of those jobs that “may” be filled by “Idahoans,” how many will be “good paying?” Will this deal reduce MY taxes? We need answers before embracing this babe.

When business orders exceed production capacity, most businesses use their own profits for expansion. Idaho Power merely approaches the P.U.C. and says they need to raise OUR rates to pay for their new generation and distribution systems. By law Idaho Power has to meet the demands of its customers (in exchange for the monopoly rights). With a big consumer like Hoku in the mix, don’t look for any good news soon.

High tech manufacturing has been deceitfully billed as clean and non-polluting. Not so.
Check out some of these often found skull and crossed bones ingredients: dopants such as arsenic, boron, antimony, phosphorus and compounds like arsine, phosphine, silane. Liquids like hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, sulfuric acid, hydrofluoric acid.

No matter how these deadly chemicals are used, handled and stored at the manufacturing sites, the possibility exists they will be released through fire, earthquake, theft or other means. Even the benign sounding Hydrogen Peroxide was referenced as a major explosive component in the recently revealed English terrorist plot to blow up airliners. The new chemicals are transported to the plants over our roads and through our airports. The used/contaminated chemicals that are not consumed on site are also shipped to other areas for disposal. We don’t need more hazardous material in Idaho, let alone “along the Snake River.”

Maybe Lame Duck Guv has a point. Chum more deadly chemicals that may end up in the water or air. There are too many healthy people here anyway. West Nile Virus and Dibrom haven’t helped much to improve the medical economy. Or maybe we should just ask for a big, wet, kiss because we have certainly been screwed!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. BG: You brought up the question of why by the river, but didn’t really get into that.
    Seems likely this outfit is either going to want to use *lots* of water (with the river being a handy supply), or to dump a lot of waste into it (which is illegal, of couse, unless you have a lot of money).
    Any thoughts from anyone about which is the main reason for wanting to be by the river?

  2. curious george
    Sep 1, 2006, 10:05 pm

    Too bad that any public records request for the notes taken during the “negotiations” with Hoku are specifically exempt from disclosure per the Idaho Public Records Law.

    9-340D.6 exempts any such disclosure of records if they were generated for the expressed purpose of assisting a company to locate to Idaho – and 9-340D.1 would exempt any data that Hoku may have divuldged about its manufacturing process (and the chemicals used) since it may contain trade secrets.

    It would seem to me that the public’s right to know (and the press’s ability to gather and deseminate) such information must outweigh any “potential” economic benefit that such a deal might conjure. Especially when a physical site for the company has been identified and there’s a potential that the Snake River & its aquifer could be contaminated.

    If Hoku is so eager to relocate to Idaho, it shouldn’t keep secrets from its new neighbors.

  3. Gee Wiz Wally,
    I thought “Green Power” was all green. That’s what all the Greenies keep telling me. Now I’m just going to have to light up that old wood stove again. At least I can see both ends of that process. What’s that? Poor air and water quality? But how could that be? We’ve checked all the boxes on the triplicate forms right. Could it be that the great powers that be and oversee, can’t see, past the next election or their nose whichever is first?

    PS: Give them an old mining or military site…. or a landfill!! Nothing they’ll do could be worse than what’s been done there already right? Remember to drill the well extra deep so they don’t have to drill again and again as production increases.

  4. Let me work on a guess as to why the plant has to by the river. It was glaring that state’s water agreement wasn’t explained. I would still like to see that. But it is unlikely to be the driver. A polysilicon plant uses water but not huge amounts like a fab (Micron). The plant that Hoku plans to build is more like an ore refinery than a fab. The ore is melted by an electric arc process. It will take huge amounts of power. I suspect that its needs are large enough that the costs of transmitting the power over any distance will be costly. They will be building the plant adjacent to the river at the site of a hydro dam. There are three groups of the on the Snake: CJ Strike / Swan Falls near Kuna, Shoshone / Salmon Falls near Twin, and American Falls in American Falls. There is a fourth, Hells Canyon, but it is too far from a population center to staff the new plant.

  5. Keep on speaking up for the environment. I agree with previous comment about locating near the river. Very suspicious and reminds me of articles I did on sugar beet processors polluting rivers in the 60s when I was a reporter at The Statesman.

  6. I wonder why they didn’t consider locations on the Columbia in some of the defunct aluminum plants that located there for the same reason. Cheap Bonneville power and water.

  7. The onwers of defunct Aluminum plants figure it’s cheaper to put a fence around them than do a clean up prior to a sale. Some of those plants were turning out product during WWII when the only rule was maximum production!! Military, Mining, and RailRoads do the same thing with their previous messy sights. Wait about 50 years and most of the nasties are gone.

  8. Geeeze Guys. Sounds like you all won’t be happy until we all freeze to death in the dark!

  9. CYCLOPS – I don’t understand your comment. Please expand …

  10. Happy to Mojo.
    If you are dealing with growth, there are only two options. Growth either expands or it shrinks. It is impossible to put in a “holding pattern”. The reason I moved here 35 years ago is because this was the best place to raise a family. Land was affordable, jobs were plentiful, the people were pleasant and crime was low. Interestingly enough, compared to the large cities most of us came from, by comparison, it still is.

    We all moan about the traffic, the crime, the social problems, and our idiotic officials.
    With the exception of the idiots,( I have to concede that one), all you have to do is go to one of our larger western cities for a couple of days. You will be more than happy to come back and deal with “our” problems.

    My point is that if we think we can stop this train named Boise, we are being delusional. The very best we can hope for is to guide the inevitable monster called growth. After all, the only difference between those of us that have been here more than 20 years and those recent immigrants is they are late.

  11. I agree with Cyclops, but we need to wise up. If you think the bad air will go away with the fire season think again. http://www.deq.state.id.us I wonder if the bad air is drifting all the way to SD?

  12. Great comments. I agree with many of them.

    Relatively speaking, murder usually is a terrible thing. Therefore, relatively speaking, rape isn’t so bad. And since armed robbery isn’t as invasive as murder or rape, perhaps we should legalize and condone robbery . . . Perhaps I’ll just hang out in downtown Caldwell, looking like another lemming, until I get mugged. Then I can say, “Wow, that wasn’t too bad. I’ll bet in South L.A. they would have shot me in the head!”

    This Hoku “deal” is just one more of the “smart growth” issues that too many people want to see continue. They would like to help pay for shenanigans like it until Idaho has experienced its last, gasping, raspy, pollution filled breath. At that point, even with the oft touted “relativity” statements about southern Idaho “still” being “better” than other western metro areas, the old, “good” Idaho will be officially dead.

    Negative growth for the foreseeable future? Sounds damn good to me. Although I feel like a silent partner in them, I have bought my last Buck knife, HP printer and Micron product. I have NO plans to visit Cabella’s state subsidized endeavor. South Dakota really is sounding better every day. Don’t know how they feel about old Idahoans but I may have to find out. . . There certainly isn’t much to recommend staying in this area anymore.

  13. I am very sorry to hear that dh. I hate to be the one to tell you but “the old good Idaho” is already dead. Relatively speaking, we need to deal with the Idaho we have, not moan about the Idaho that used to be. We sure would like your help, but if you are that disheartened, I wish you well in South Dakota

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