Ada County drew up a legal description in September 2010 detailing a 6.9-acre area at the Ada County landfill to be leased to Dynamis for a garbage-fueled power plant. That lease boundary was included in agreements signed by Dynamis and commissioners Rick Yzaguirre and Sharon Ullman in November 2011 and May 2012.
On Tuesday, Yzaguirre and Ullman amended the agreement expanding Dynamis lease boundaries to two parcels 9.26 acres for the plant and .46 acres for a substation.
Commissioner David Case refused to sign the amendment, saying he does not want to enter any agreements further locking the county into blindly going down a path I do not want to go down. Case said he wants the county to hold a public review process on the Dynamis project and have an independent, third-party engineering firm review Dynamis application to the county.
Dynamis has said it plans to start construction this month.
The Statesman received different answers as to why Dynamis acreage is being increased this late in the game:
Commissioner Ullman told the Statesman last month, They need the footprint of the lease boundary to be shaped differently from the arbitrarily drawn rectangle that Ted Hutchinson and Dynamis civil engineer drew previously. I see no reason why the county would refuse to make this change, given that Dynamis is only leasing about eight out of 2,700 acres of the landfill. She reiterated this statement during Tuesdays meeting.
Commissioner Case said he was told the change was needed due to setback problems with the building. He said he learned this was not true when he received an email Aug. 6 from Ada County Landfill Director Ted Hutchinson stating a Dynamis engineer told the county that the air modeling done by DEQ shows some points outside their proposed lease boundary that may be problematic for their air permit and Dynamis would like to further alter the lease boundary.
The Department of Environmental Quality said Dynamis submitted an air quality permit application in April, and the agency is still reviewing the application. In July, well into DEQs review process, Dynamis changed the property boundaries and acreage, to increase the area that would be excludable to ambient air, DEQ manager Mike Simon said Thursday.
Idaho Conservation League, which has been monitoring Dynamis air quality permit process, said Dynamis is changing the boundary so its emissions can be more diluted by the time they reach the property boundary. The changes the county is making for the Dynamis project will make it look like they are not producing as much air pollution when in fact they are, said Courtney Washburn, Community Conservation director.
Richard Llewellyn, a biochemist opposed to the project, sent a letter this week to the county commissioners stating Dynamis wants to increase its acreage to avoid regulatory thresholds. If the plant cannot pass muster at 6 acres, shouldn't it simply install the necessary emissions controls and agree to perform more rigorous emission testing, rather than try to shirk this responsibility by increasing their footprint? How does this increasing the leased area benefit the County? Llewellyn asked in his letter.
What does Dynamis say? It says it will not talk to the media until after DEQ issues the permit.
The county is slated to further amend Dynamis contract on Monday, but officials will not state what changes are proposed until after they are approved.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell