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Former Trash Now Fuels Controversy

Seems there just isn’t enough trash to go around these days.

When Ada County entered into a deal with Foristar to capture methane gas at Hidden Hollow Landfill and burn it in an engine turning a turbine generating electricity, it made sense. For several years the county has made a couple hundred thousand bucks annually off the sale of the power.

However, with the advent of the Dynamis proposed project, Foristar, the existing power provider, has informed Idaho Power there won’t be enough “fuel” to generate electricity. That claim, along with an inability to get a DEQ permit due to what they say are the sole actions of Ada County are subject of a letter to the IDAHO PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION.

In an ironic twist, rather than being faced with too much waste, there is a now chance all the deals the county has entered into could cancel each other out for lack of product. Foristar is claiming a lack of methane production due to diverting waste to Dynamis and Dynamis will be faced with lack of “fuel” as the recycle center operated by Republic Services (the trash collector) hits stride and diverts plastic, paper and other commodities with plenty of BTUs (British thermal units).

There is a battle brewing nationwide about exactly WHO owns trash once it is set on the curb. Boise runs a recycle program, but there is little consensus regarding ownership of what has become a fuel source.

Even if the Dynamis “trash to energy” project somehow is approved, there is a good chance they will have to rely on outside fuel–like tires–to have enough heat to burn the heavily wet “municipal solid waste” found at the dump.

A group opposing Dynamis is also raising concerns of Dioxin emissions on the Treasure Valley.

UPDATE June 25. Daily Paper has more on COMMISH INTEREST.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Wow, this is new information to me that DYNAMIS’ approval by the Commissioners actually hurts the methane project as well as all our recycling efforts. The Commissioners have clearly shown they made serious errors in judgement in rushing to sign the DYNAMIS contract. The whole deal smells! (pun intended)

  2. My Two Cents
    Jun 23, 2012, 9:00 am

    I do not believe this was poor judgment. The level of secrecy and the urgency with which the contract was pushed through raises red flags far more serious than “poor judgment.” It was clearly deliberately done with utter disregard for whether the technology worked, nor whether Ada County would be harmed. I must wonder what motivated the commissioners to do this deed. What were they promised in return for this contract? It must be significant, as it made them so committed that they even extended it to a 30-year contract recently as a further slap in the face to all of us.

  3. We do not need Dynamis in this valley, nor do we need the power they generate, the pollution they will create and the increased power rates Id. Power must pay Dynamis for this goofy project. It will fall to the rate payers and citizens of Ada who put up $2MM for this boondoggle.

    The emission of Dioxins alone but add to this they will be burning used tires for even more pollution. The tires will come from all over the northwest to be incinerated in Boise. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb, given our already polluted air at certain times of the year.

  4. I agree with My Two Cents. I’m wondering what was in it for the commissioners. I’m waiting to see what happens after Sharon leaves office.

  5. chicago sam
    Jun 25, 2012, 9:12 am

    While I agree with 2 scents there is no doubt the signing of the long term contract puts future commissioners in a very uncomfortable position. If they see fit to break the contract they better have strong evidence of wrongdoing and I doubt that a new boyfriend and the fringe benifits that implies will sway a judge. Mahaffey and his cohorts have already put one county into bankruptcy. Continued public outcry will make any financial backer of Dynamis hesitant. Also public comment to the Idaho Public Utilitys Commission who gave Dynamis above market rates for electricity would help. Commission is revewing all renewable energy contracts and some hope they will present more favorable rulings. See GNR-E-11-03.

  6. I guess there is a petition to investigate the commissioners in the Dynamis project http://www.safeidahocitizens.org/DOCS/6.21.2012%20ICSETG%20Handout%20and%20Petition.pdf

    EDITOR NOTE–The petition drive is an effort in futility. Under Idaho law the AG has no authority to investigate. That authority rests with the county prosecutor who is also the legal counsel for the two commishes they seek to investigate.

  7. To clarify the County Prosecutor will get one and be forced to recuse himself due to conflict of interest. As you will see this WILL reach the AG and there will be an investigation. Don’t be so fast to lose faith. You may also wish to attend Fridays Commissioner meeting – it is an open meeting (for a change).

  8. It’s open to the public but they are not going to allow questions or comments from the public. That screams “open” to me. 9:00 for a public meeting – maybe they are trying to keep the attendance down. Couldn’t keep me away even if you used all the horses running at Les Bois……..

  9. What the heck harm would it do to open the hearing up to public comments, given the lingering questions over the Dynamis deal? Good chance for Interim Commissioner Case to follow through on his primary race rhetoric. He hasn’t won the seat permanently yet. Thomas Howell is looking much peachier at this time. He’s a real nice and intelligent guy. I’d rather pay the big bucks to a stranger regardless of party affiliation than to those who disregard the public interest.

  10. I’ll bet Dave Case is the one that pushed for this meeting. I’m sure that Sharon will try to take credit. Remember he can ask the questions but the other 2 can override anything he tries to do. The Statesman says the meeting is to ask questions from Dynamis and county employees. Will Dynamis show? And what county employees? Ullman, Tilman & Yzaguirre were the ones that rammed this down the throats of the taxpayers.

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