Claim On A Rotten Deal Filed Against Ada

A tort claim of $30 million–legal action required prior to filing a suit against local government–has been filed against Ada County by the energy firm currently generating electricity at the landfill by capturing methane gas created from rotting garbage.

Through a couple of subsidiaries, Fortistar Methane Group has a contract to operate the gas-to-energy facility and a contract with Idaho Power to purchase the energy which nets Ada county about $250,000 a year.

As explained in several GUARDIAN posts regarding DYNAMIS ENERGY, there is a growing question about who owns the trash once it is abandoned at curbside. Fortistar is claiming the new deal with Dynamis promising 408 tons of daily trash will lower the production of methane to drive the engines Fortistar has in place. Dynamis seeks to build a facility they claim will “gasify” waste to create steam and spin an electric turbine. Ada County Commishes have loaned $2 million to Dynamis which must be repaid prior to construction.

Meanwhile the Republic Services folks who pick up most of the trash in the area assert the trash they pick up belongs to them. Republic has invested heavily in a recycle center west of Meridian with plans of selling the various treasures (paper, plastic, aluminum) harvested from what was once trash.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Too bad you can’t sue the commissioners for being bozos. They generate lots of legal costs from their lack of good judgment. Then they cry about budget issues and ask for campaign money. Reminds me of the pan-handlers who drive a nice car and pay off the house early.

    A CEO would get canned for sure. Vote carefully; look at the mess in Boise County.

  2. Karen Ragland
    Jul 25, 2012, 7:15 pm

    I knew it would to fighting over trash. sigh
    I still think Dynamis is a bad decision. If Repuclic is picking uo trash, then let them carry tht trash to a logical conclusiion–methane.
    Dynamis would have to get users for the methane they produced. I wonder it the County Commissioners have their hands in the methane pot?

  3. Can the bozos be sued personally for this mess?

    Or do the taxpayers pay for their mistakes? Even if illegal?

  4. I wonder whether a class action lawsuit can be filed against the commissioners? Both need to go. Yzaguirre already had shady dealings with his state sales tax debacle years ago, and now this? And Ullman is just not of this world!

  5. chicago sam
    Jul 26, 2012, 9:35 am

    I just reread the “Boise Attorney opposed to Dynamis Deal” which is included in related posts above. Jon Steele nailed every point.Since not enough people paid attention they will now have to pay a considerable sum in litigation costs and the $2 million will just be chump change

  6. Sandy,

    The answer to your question is contained in Idaho State Code 31-2018 COUNTY OFFICIALS — LIMITATION ON PERSONAL LIABILITY. Law states in part: “Each county shall indemnify its officials and employees against all losses of public moneys or property, except those which are the result of negligence, gross negligence, or intentional conduct by the public official or employee, pursuant to the authority in the Idaho tort claims act.”


  7. Article in this weeks Wall Street Journal states 85 out of 107 various trash to energy projects are causing pollution beyond what is permitted for the facility.

    Why do we need Dynamis to burn trash and as they stated old tires to further pollute our already crappy air at certain times of the year?

    I call this project an insult to citizens of the valley and the Ada Commissioners need to be hung up by their petards for this monkey business.

  8. I just read the following paragraph and wondered if someone could confirm whether or not it’s true:

    (In re: the Hidden Hollow methane production at AC Landfill)

    “In fact, in June 2011 it came to Idaho DEQ’s attention that “certain contaminant levels had increased to a level such that Ada County was no longer in compliance with its existing air quality permit.” Ada County, Idaho DEQ and Hidden Hollow Energy have worked to find a solution but have not been successful. Idaho Power severed its power purchase agreement with Hidden Hollow Energy as a result of the company failing to meet its operation deadline of Feb. 28, 2012.”


    EDITOR NOTE–Sounds like it is true based on GUARDIAN conversations with DEQ. This involves the gas that escapes from the landfill that is not “flared” off. As we understand it, there is a chemical change with the sulphur once it is burned, but honestly we can’t remember the change from Sulphur Dioxide or to sulphur dioxide after burning. But, yes they are out of compliance at present.

  9. Editor – Thanks for your facts re: compliance status!

    My question, though, is whether or not Idaho Power severed its power purchase agreement with HHE and, if so, would that influence the tort claim one way or t’other?

  10. One of the writers of Better BTU here:

    Bus Rider, if you’ll click on the attachment on the bottom of the entry entitled “Formal Complaint: Hidden Hollow Energy 2 LLC vs. Idaho Power” you can see the material we are referring to to in the paragraph you quoted above. It’s a bit dense but gives a detailed timeline of the events.

    To answer Karen Ragland, a partial oxidation gasifier like Dynamis doesn’t create much methane – not enough to sell to anyone. It is burnt, which does create carbon dioxide but is much less harmful then methane.

    Dynamis should have a system in place to clean up/control emissions on the back end, but we’d prefer a little CO2 escaping into the air over approximately 50% of the methane that escapes a landfill, even with methane capture.

    Commissioner Sharon Ullman explained that the $2 million was not from taxpayers, although I can’t remember now where she said it came from. You can probably find it on her blog.

    It will be interesting to see what the county comes back and says in response to Hidden Hollow Energy. The country is watching – that’s for sure.

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