Nuke Developer’s Suit Against Snake River Alliance Dismissed

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Jan. 26, 2009 – The Fourth Judicial District Court in Ada County has dismissed the lawsuit brought against the Snake River Alliance by the developer of a proposed nuclear reactor above the Snake River in Elmore County. The dismissal establishes that Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley did not defame the company by referring to it and its chief officer as “scammers.”

Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. sued the Alliance and Shipley on Aug. 22, charging that Shipley defamed it by pointing out its financial and administrative struggles, and by concluding that “these guys are scamming Idahoans.” At the time Chief Executive Officer Don Gillispie boasted that “[s]omeone has to hold them accountable. They have used defamation tactics since the day we announced this plant and the media has {sic} obliged them by spreading their fabrications.” He also accused the Alliance of attempting to drive down the price of AEHI stock, which on Tuesday night was listed at 7.5 cents a share with more than 74 million shares outstanding. In its Complaint AEHI asked the Court to require the Snake River Alliance and Shipley to retract their statements, to prohibit them from further “disparaging statements,” and to award it money damages.

The Snake River Alliance immediately moved to dismiss AEHI’s lawsuit. The Alliance defended Shipley’s statements of opinion concerning AEHI as free speech protected from liability by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. In its brief to the Court the Alliance cautioned that “[p]ermitting this punitively designed action to proceed would have a chilling effect on public discourse over [AEHI’s] controversial project.”

One Response

  1. Snake River Alliance backs out of defamatory statements

    AEHI agrees to drop case in light of SRA’s admission

    For more information:
    Martin Johncox, 208-658-9100
    Don Gillispie, 208-939-9311

    Jan. 26, 2009

    The Snake River Alliance has retracted a statement calling the company Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., “scammers,” with the Alliance saying their statement wasn’t “factual” but merely their opinion.

    On Aug. 11, 2008, Snake River Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley appeared on a television news broadcast and claimed AEHI representatives were criminals, calling the company “scammers.” AEHI sued the SRA for defamation, as no one in the company has been accused of charged with any criminal behavior. In response, the Alliance filed a motion to dismiss the defamation suit, instead saying their statements were offered as opinion, not fact, and were therefore protected under the First Amendment. In light of the SRA’s admission that their statements were not factual, AEHI did not oppose the dismissal.

    “In their dismissal, the SRA admitted their statements were not factual, but just their opinion, which they could have done long ago,” said AEHI President and CEO Don Gillispie. “The SRA is known for over-the-top rhetoric and they came very, very close to crossing the line between protected speech and defamation; only by later retracting the factualness of their statement did they stay within the law and they now should think twice about the words they use.”

    For more on the issue, visit

    AEHI is seeking to develop the Idaho Energy Complex (, a large advanced nuclear reactor with low cooling water requirements located about 65 miles southeast of Boise, in Elmore County. Company officials plan to submit a Combined Operating License Application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2010. The approval process is expected to take three years and cost $80 million. Construction could begin as soon as late 2012 and finish with power generation beginning in late 2016.

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