Ida-West Energy Co., the Idaho Power Co. corporate affiliate proposing a natural gas-fired generating plant west of Boise, will conduct additional archaeological evaluation of the site the tribes hold sacred. President Randy Hill said the decision to check the site with metal detecting equipment followed a meeting with state historic preservation officials about the 1854 Ward Massacre, where 18 Oregon Trail travelers and 20 American Indians reportedly died in a pitched battle on or near the 30-acre tract. The next year, the Army captured and executed nine American Indians camped in the same area. Tribal spokesman Terry Gibson labeled Idaho Power management insensitive and stubborn, claiming plans for the power plant in Middleton are no different than proposing a power plant for the Omaha Beach at Normandy or Morris Hill Cemetery in Boise. "The point is that this is a very significant site of historical human sacrifice and deserves to be avoided,'' Gibson said. Michael Elliott, plant project manager, said the company originally called in experts who found no evidence of historical materials on the 30-acre site that has been farmed for more than a half-century. The turbine generator is proposed to fill the gap in generating capacity Idaho Power expects to have in another few years.
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