Dynamis got its money upfront — and a friendly deal from Ada County commissioners. Now, maybe, will commissioners get some answers about a waste-to-energy project that looks more questionable at every turn?
We’ll see later this week. Commissioners have scheduled a public meeting for Friday morning, effectively summoning Dynamis Energy to the principal’s office to discuss a project mired in delay and controversy.
Two years ago, Ada County fronted Dynamis $2 million to design a plant to super-heat tires and other trash from the county landfill, producing gas that would generate up to 20 megawatts of electricity.
The county is still out its $2 million. Dynamis is supposed to pay this money back before it can receive a county building permit. Dynamis hasn’t even applied for the permit.
Despite the delays — construction was supposed to begin on the plant in March — Commissioners Sharon Ullman and Rick Yzaguirre made the hasty and ill-advised decision to double-down on the Dynamis concept. On May 22, they voted to extend the five-year contract to 30 years. They reasoned that this would help the company secure financing — as if that were suddenly the taxpayers’ problem.
It is late in the game for commissioners to demand answers. But don’t blame Dave Case, appointed to the commission three days after the county extended the Dynamis deal. Case pushed for Friday’s public meeting and Yzaguirre voted yes, giving Case a second vote on the three-member commission.
Summoning Dynamis is necessary because the company has done little to allay public concerns. It has offered assurances — but nothing in the way of supporting detail — about its project design and its financing plan. Dynamis was a no-show last week for a meeting in the Hidden Springs neighborhood near the landfill, but the company says it will instead hold public meetings July 17 and 18.
That’s about time, as well. But Dynamis owes Ada County taxpayers answers — and a couple million bucks. Dynamis must provide information at commissioners’ request, not at the company’s convenience.
Commissioners, meanwhile, need to be duly skeptical.
Perhaps the Dynamis project will still check out, despite its troubled start. But perhaps it won’t.
If that turns out to be the case, we’d rather see commissioners walk away than stubbornly support a project that will not work as billed and will pose unacceptable environmental risk. Before reaching any conclusions, commissioners need to finally engage in public and long overdue fact-finding. Friday’s meeting could be a first step.
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Ada County commissioners will discuss the Dynamis waste-to-energy project at 9 a.m. Friday in the main-floor hearing room at the Ada County Courthouse, 200 W. Front St. The meeting is open to the public, but commissioners will not take questions or comments from the audience.