When Craig Kulchak wanted to install a 20-kilowatt wind turbine in rural Boise, it took two years and multiple meetings before the Ada County Planning Commission.
For Dynamis Energy to get Ada County to OK its $75 million, 22-megawatt power plant, Kulchak said, it took nine days and no public meetings.
You need to look deep into the eye of this thing, Kulchak told the planning commission Thursday night. The improprieties, the out-and-out goofiness, you need to disallow this and put it in the trash.
Kulchak and about 100 other opponents of Dynamis proposed electricity-generating project at the Ada County landfill attended a meeting Thursday that the Planning and Zoning Commission scheduled to let opponents put their opinions on the record. The project was approved by Ada County commissioners in 2010 without a hearing.
Following a public protest and two hours of testimony, the planning commission voted to send the commissioners a statement that the public was not given the opportunity to provide significant input and that the project should be submitted as a land-use application subject to a regular hearing before the planning commission.
It is my opinion that a project of this magnitude should be heard by this planning commission, said Planning and Zoning Commissioner John Seidl. I dont believe the people have been heard by their government.
News also came Thursday of another delay for Dynamis in getting an air quality permit from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, which is still reviewing the application.
No draft permit is ready at this time and there is no estimate as to when one will be ready, DEQ manager Mike Simon said.
In a complaint it filed Thursday, Idaho Citizens for a Safe Environment and Transparent Government claims that the county violated several state laws, including one that prohibits counties from loaning money to businesses. The county paid Dynamis $2 million in 2010 to design the waste-to-energy facility with the agreement that Dynamis repay the money when it started construction. The group also cites concerns about toxic emissions, including dioxin.
In its complaint, the group asks the court to declare the Dynamis project to be both illegal and illegally entered-into, null, void, against public policy, against the public interest and unenforceable.
About 100 people with signs such as Stop Dyna-Mess and Dirty politics. Dirty deal. Dirty air. gathered at the courthouse before the meeting.
Boise real estate agent Marci Rodgers sign read, Untested. Unproven. Unsafe.
This will have a huge negative effect on Ada County property values, she said.
About two dozen of the protesters testified before the planning commission, which has no legal authority over the Dynamis project. But the commission does have the ability to give citizens the opportunity to speak, and voted last month to let the foes enter comments into the public record.
The Ada County commissioners have said that because it was a permitted use at the existing landfill, it did not need a land-use application or a public hearing.
WHAT CRITICS SAID
Kristin Stilton of Hidden Springs said the county bypassed the law approving the for-profit privately owned power plant. The public has purposefully been locked out of this project, she said. There has never been public input on the project.
Don Pollari of Boise said: This is absolutely a boondoggle from any scientific basis. ...
Meridian planning and zoning director Bruce Chatterton, speaking on behalf of the mayor, said Meridian is concerned that the public process requirements be met. He also said the city is worried that no feasibility study by a licensed engineer has been done.
Courtney Washburn, of the Idaho Conservation League, said Dynamis emissions could worsen Ada Countys already poor air quality. Garbage in equals garbage out. Essentially this is a big experiment being played out in Ada County, she said.
Richard McBride of Boise thanked the commission. We have not had a voice until tonight, he said. You have to be our voice tonight after we leave. The planning commission will continue to take written comments through Tuesday. Comments may be sent to 200 W. Front St., Boise, 83702, or emailed to email@example.com.
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT
The county agreed to let Dynamis Energy build a plant at the county-owned landfill that would convert trash and tires into gas and then into electricity.
Dynamis is responsible for financing, building and operating the $60 million to $75 million plant. The county would receive no revenue, but would save money by having less trash to bury and maintain.
The facility would be the Eagle companys first waste-to-energy plant and the largest power-producing facility to be built in Ada County since Lucky Peak Dam in 1988.
Idaho Power agreed to buy up to 22 megawatts of electricity from Dynamis Energy. Dynamis must be online by Feb. 14, 2014, to comply with that agreement.
In late 2010, the county gave Dynamis $2 million to create site-specific design plans for the facility. According to invoices approved by county commissioners, Dynamis used that money to buy high-end computers and hire consultants. The contract permitted Dynamis to bill the county up to $350 an hour for engineering services and a 10 percent markup on all goods and services.
Dynamis has said construction of the plant will take about 15 months.
According to its contract with the county, Dynamis was supposed to start construction in March. Construction has since been delayed. Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell