Simplot Threatens To Leave Canyon County

J.R. Simplot Company’s environmental director threatened to “go somewhere else” in testimony before the Idaho Senate last week.

The legislature has pretty much decided to allow the DEQ to implement plans for vehicle emission testing in Canyon County as the valley comes closer to “non attainment” of federal regulations…which will potentially affect how the Simplot plant does business with regard to pollution.

Rocky Barker, the environmental writer for the DAILY PAPER reported the following from an Idaho legislature hearing in a piece in Sunday’s Statesman:

“If the Environmental Protection Agency declares the Treasure Valley in “nonattainment” of ozone limits, that could make it difficult to make routine changes in J.R. Simplot Co.’s potato processing plants in Canyon County, said Alan Prouty, the company’s environmental director.”

Buried in Barker’s report was a “big bully threat” issued at a public meeting from the Simplot Company official:

“If we can’t make those changes in Canyon County we’ll go somewhere else,” Prouty told the Senate panel.

At a time when unemployment is rampant, the economy is in a shambles, and Simplot workers get taxpayer subsidized perks at the Caldwell YMCA, this guy threatens to leave town!

The GUARDIAN questions how any legislator can deal in good faith with a major employer when the clear message is “our way or the highway.” We can only hope Prouty is not involved with the Simplot family project in downtown Boise.

Read Barker’s story from the Statesman.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. EPA wants to lower the limits for Ozone to 60ppb. The World Health Orgainzation wants 51ppb.

    (Caldwell Mayor Nancolas in his state of the city address says he will fight the EPA move to 60ppb with the help of Mayor Dale in Nampa.)

    Here is what the effects of Ozone are:
    “Exposure to ozone and the pollutants that produce it has been linked to premature death, asthma, bronchitis, heart attack, and other cardiopulmonary problems. According to scientists with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), susceptible people can be adversely affected by ozone levels as low as 40 ppb.” (See Wikipedia for more info.)

  2. Okay try it this way instead…
    At a time when unemployment is rampant, and the economy is in a shambles the bureaucrats in charge want to make us jump through even more federal environmental hoops. Perhaps it is time to pick up the sticks.

  3. Big bully is also a big and loyal employer that can and possibly will make good on that warning.

    All over the nation our governments have bravely stood their ground, pushing employers to move to safer places. Gosh how it makes me proud of the way they’ve really shown those bullies who’s boss! Going after them with such tenacity and zeal as to make sure they just give up and leave town in dismay. I’m sure there will be a grand victory party at the union hall tonight!

    Now that the DEQ and the hundreds of other three and four letter blood-suckers is nearly finished pushing our best jobs to outside the nation, I’m sure they will find a new way to tax the few dollars we have left.

    Psst: Anyone been to Detroit lately?

  4. sam the sham
    Feb 1, 2010, 9:31 am

    I thought that big corporations complained that the cost of reworking their plants to make them comply with environmental laws was just too expensive – yet moving an entire plant to avoid those costs is a better idea?
    Yes, that is bully behavior.
    Does the Idaho legislature have the back bone to stand up to that Big Bully?

  5. I do not think Simplot is trying to be a bully or get special favors. Prouty was just stating the obvious facts that pollution controls can be very costly. Frozen potatoes plants only need to be close to the growing area, so a move to a less populated county to the east would not really hurt Simplot’s distribution.

    Prouty seems to be an oxymoron though. Environmental Director fighting against the environment.

  6. Zippo, just where would a company go to find less environmental law than exists in Idaho? Off the top of my head I can’t think of one. They could possibly locate to Mexico but I am not certain the raw material pipeline exists down there for spuds.

    Do you think the states of Oregon and Washigton have lesser requirements for pollution than Idaho. I am willing to guess Idaho remains as “business friendly” as they can with respect to EPA/DEQ requirements.

    Anyone out there know for sure what the deal is in Oregon and Washington or anywhere else for that matter.

  7. Rod in SE Boise
    Feb 1, 2010, 3:27 pm

    If the government caves in to Simplot on this it will just add further proof that we have a government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations.

  8. What Would Jack Do?
    Feb 1, 2010, 7:55 pm

    I am sure Simplot it sincere in their desire to forestall stiffer air quality regulations. At the same time their options are limited. If they want to move their plant, they have to move someplace that can grow potatoes. More to the point, they have to move someplace that grows a lot of (good quality) potatoes, where there is cheap energy, good transportation to markets, and is not already served by one of their main competitors, thus driving up the cost of raw product. Such locations are either extremely limited, or take decades to develop.

    Simplot also has to be careful that by abandoning the Caldwell area, one of their main competitors does not come in behind them and make french fries out of the same spuds Simplot left behind, more cheaply than Simplot can from their relocated plant.

    My guess is that the legislature will try to throw Simplot a bone, but that both the state and Simplot will blink before the feds do.

  9. Why yes Sam, the legislature has more than enough cajones to stand up to Simplot! Just like they stood up to Micron and Albertsons, and MK, and Boise Cascade, and all those other bullies! After all , Jack is dead and can’t really fight back! Give ’em hell legislature! Then you can form another
    “committee” to study what the hell went wrong!

  10. Those sawmills will never close, not with the trees so nearby. Those auto plants will never close, not with the iron ore so nearby. Thousands of similar foolish bets have been placed in this nation over the last 40 years. Without those jobs the base reason for a middle-class is gone. A true service economy has no middle class. It won’t be long now.

  11. ZIPPO – add this to your post…..Boise Cascade will never leave, Albertson’s will always be here, Ore-Ida will stay, MK will never go away.

    I am sure that Canada or Mexico would LOVE to send us their spuds!

  12. What Would Jack Do?
    Feb 2, 2010, 7:45 am

    You can’t grow spuds without water. I haven’t heard the Carnation/Nestle in Caldwell complaining. They would be happy as clams if Jack pulled out and left the local market over supplied with raw material.

  13. Businesses do not have to remain where they will lose money, a fact that governments always seem to forget.

  14. WWJD, It may come as news to you but Simplot now owns Carnation/Nestle in Nampa and elsewhere wher spuds are processed and has owned them for a number of years.

    Jack built his plants next to rivers so he could dump the effluent directly into the rivers. There was an interview in the late 1970’s (Jack Simplot, King of the Hill) of Jack back in the day with Sal Saleski of Channel 7 with him talking about this very thing. It went on for years and years until the EPA put a stop to it.

    Point is the FED’s are going to let everyone have it their way. The evidence and data support an actual drop in Ozone levels and Ozone is not in the top two pollution issues at this point in time. The demise of old carbureted cars is one of the reasons Ozone has declined in this valley. It will cost car owners in Canyon County about $1.5 million to shell out for vehicle inspections each year and nearly all will pass the inspections. It would make more sense to spend the money on buying the old carbureted vehicles and get them off the road.

    You really have to follow the money on this one and the people doing the inspections are pushing this legislation along with all the people now suffering through and paying the people doing the inspections in Ada County.

    In all legislation you have to follow the money..

  15. I’m all for reducing pollution, but you may take note of the high levels of pollution in impoverished nations, and rapidly growing industrialized nations. An overbearing, overgrown, overly expensive, inefficient, special-interest and employee driven regulatory system is driving the jobs away from this country and thus the nation into poverty. So a BALLANCE needs to be found. These so call scientists and regulators are still acting like its 1970 and JR is still dumping in the river. The war is over man, you got to forgive and work toward a balance with slow affordable improvement while remaining competitive globally.

    Vehicle pollution testing is just an additional road tax and jobs program. Both of which bring federal money from the aforementioned overbearing bureaucracy. They know it, because they do not show what percent of vehicles are over the fairly high limit… and the tiny improvement it makes.

    If they spent that money finding, crushing, and replacing one nasty old polluting vehicle or woodstove each day, would it be more improvement? Would it be cheaper?

  16. Why doesn’t Simplot just *buy* Canyon County? Then it can make its own rules.

  17. Simplot flat out lies. There is no cheaper place to do business than in Canyon County unless you go to Mexico.
    I’ll bet a sugar beet that Simplot regrets closing the production facility by Umitilla and opening the new plant in Canada. That was done in a corporate crybaby fit because they couldn’t get their way.

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