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Anti-Cob initiative tossed

 March 1, 2005 Herald and News


A proposed ballot measure aimed at blocking construction of the proposed Cob Energy Facility near Bonanza has been rejected by a judge.

The measure would have asked Klamath County voters to prohibit the use of any public resources, including a reduction of property taxes, to support the construction of a fossil-fuel fired power plant on non-industrial land was dismissed by Jackson County Circuit Judge G. Philip Arnold.

The measure was submitted to the Klamath County clerk by Cob opponent and former county Commissioner Clif McMillan.

County Clerk Linda Smith, who makes an initial judgment on whether an initiative meets state standards, deemed the initiative as administrative in nature, rather than legislative, and disqualified it.

McMillan appealed Smith's decision to Circuit Court, but his appeal was denied earlier this month.

"Mr. McMillan is trying to get it so (Cob) couldn't be sited there," Smith said. "There are already laws in place that direct how that is done."

McMillan said the initiative was designed to hold the proposed Cob Energy Facility to a "level of higher accountability."

"My real ax to grind was with the amount of tax abatement they were going to get," he said.

The Cob facility, a 1,160-megawatt natural gas plant, received state approval last year to be built on land zoned for farm use outside of Bonanza.

McMillan said he wasn't impressed with an initial offer by Cob-backers Peoples Energy to pay $1 million a year in exchange for tax abatement.

McMillan his efforts and those of Save Our Rural Oregon helped bring about a more equitable deal.

McMillan said he may appeal the judge's decision, but he hasn't decided yet.

The initiative was the second one filed by McMillan. The first was also disqualified for being administrative in nature.






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