BOISE -- A petition with hundreds of signatures was delivered to the Department of Environmental Quality Thursday. It calls for the denial of a permit to build and operate a waste-to-power gasification plant to be built at the Ada County Landfill.
This happened on the same day that DEQ approved a pre-permit for construction. So, Dynamis can start building the plant, at their own risk. There are other permits under review. Dynamis says the plant is safe and they'll start building in the summer.
A group of people from Hidden Springs delivered the petition with 518 signatures from people across the Boise Front to DEQ on Thursday morning. It calls for DEQ to deny the air quality permit request for Dynamis to operate a waste-to-power gasification plant at the landfill.
"Their kids are going to be put at risk," said Ken Lamkin, who's with the group. "They're being beta tested by a company that hasn't demonstrated safety protocols, that makes us uncomfortable."
Neighbors are worried about the plant spewing toxins in the air and into their backyard. They say the gasification process of turning trash into energy is experimental technology.
"We all feel like we are a guinea pig, and that is very troubling and very concerning," said Andre Gensburger, also with the group.
But Lloyd Mahaffey, the CEO of Dynamis, says the technology has been around for more than a century and is safe.
"Gasification is a very quiet, non-violent process where the particles aren't thrown in the air," said Mahaffey.
There are emissions, though. Some neighbors expressed concerns that Dynamis misrepresented wind patterns from the site at a public meeting. But Dynamis says that data, and most all data regarding environmental impact, comes from DEQ itself or a third-party engineering firm.
"DEQ has a very, very rigorous air quality permitting process," said Mahaffey. "You build a very very complex data model that tells them what your plant is going to emit. It's done by a third-party engineering firm, we're not involved in that."
Ada County has already invested $2 million in the project, but Mahaffey says the county will get that money back just as soon as all their permits are approved.
"If the science wasn't sound, if the air quality model wasn't sound, if the technology couldn't be backed up, Idaho DEQ would not approve this project," said Mahaffey. "And we just got our permit."
Mahaffey also talked about other economic issues involving Dynamis executives. He says he owes some back taxes on a development in Boise County and will pay those in July.
Also, he says while two Dynamis officers used to work at DBSI, which is currently being criminally investigated, he says they weren't involved in the possible illegal activity and have his full confidence.
Ada County Commissioner candidates will talk much more about this issue this weekend on Viewpoint, which airs at 9 a.m. Sunday on Channel 7.