Ada County Residents Voice Concerns In Dynamis Debate

Nov 9, 2012

For the first time, Ada County residents Thursday night had the opportunity to speak at a public hearing on the controversial waste-to-energy plant proposed by Dynamis Energy for the county landfill. More than 200 people attended the hearing at the county courthouse.

The county’s planning and zoning commission heard testimony from more than 20 people.  All were against the project.  Karen Knudsen questioned the process county commissioners have used to this point.  She called for the resignation of commissioners Sharon Ullman and Rick Yzaguirre.

"What they have done, quietly, behind all our knowledge, is -- it's outrageous," Knudsen said. "How much air pollution will result from this gasification project which will produce 30 tons of toxic ash a day."

In advance of the public hearing, a group filed a lawsuit against Ada County over the controversial project. Idaho Citizens for a Safe Environment and Transparent Government is represented by Boise attorney Andrew Schoppe.

“We’re hoping to expose the truth of what the commissioners have done and how they’ve very systematically, and wrongfully we think, favored Dynamis at every step of the process,” said Schoppe in an interview prior to the meeting.

The lawsuit seeks to prove that two of the three current commissioners – Yzaguirre and Ullman – broke several laws in establishing the contract with Dynamis. The group hopes to get a court order that would block construction of the plant between now and January 14, when the two newly elected commissioners would be sworn in.

People from varied backgrounds – including one citizen with a doctorate in biochemistry – raised concerns about the specific technology that Dyanmis would use to operate the plant.  Another person told the panel the environmental unknowns could deter businesses from moving to the Treasure Valley.  Eric Elliott, of Boise,  pointed out one group that was not in attendance.

 "I just sat here kind of wondering what was missing from this meeting and what's missing is anybody speaking on behalf of Dynamis," said Elliott. "I would imagine something like this, if they had something good to say, they would be here saying that."

The planning and zoning commission is an advisory body only.  It can make a recommendation to county commissioners, but has no authority to block the project.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio