Dynamis’ Vice President Pete Johnson started Tuesday night’s public hearing on the new waste-to-energy plant by asking everyone to stay calm and refrain from booing.
But the atmosphere quickly turned contentious at the first chance the public got to voice their opinions on the new plant.
When Richard Llewellyn, a concerned biochemist and Boise resident, started his question with a series of comments on his concerns for the environment, Johnson cut him off, asking if he did indeed have a question.
The room of 70 people quickly filled with arguing and outrage.
“We listened to you for two hours,” one woman said.
“Let somebody else talk,” said someone else.
“You had the floor, now will you please let him finish,” another yelled.
“I will now ask my question, okay?” Llewellyn said.
The proposed plant will gassify trash at the Ada County Landfill and sell energy to Idaho Power. The $75,000,000 project has been embraced by county commissioners, but some residents of northwest Boise and Hidden Springs are fighting against it.
Hidden Springs resident Ron Mackelprang asked the first question at last night’s hearing. That's after an hour-long presentation put together by the company and presented by Johnson, with the help of the company’s engineers, legal help, and environmental consultant.
Mackelprang said his severe health problems could be made worse from new air pollutants caused by the plant.
“If you have an accident, and I end up dead because I get a whiff of your gases, are you prepared personally, as individuals, not just as Dynamis, to look my heirs in the eye and say, well, sorry, he took one for the team?” Mackelprang said.
The panel had no response. An aggravated Johnson thanked him for his concerns and moved on to the next question.
Questions ran almost two hours. People asked about safety, training of staff, left-over ash, health problems, air and groundwater pollution, chemical monitoring, and the view of the building. Most questions came with heated comments and frustration at the lack of answers.
Dynamis declined to comment on many questions on the environment and air pollution to protect proprietary information.
The plant is currently waiting for an air quality permit from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. Dynamis has already begun constructing equipment for the facility. It’s spent $10,000,000. Johnson said construction at the site should begin as early as next month.
He said he feels for Mackelprang, but will not back down on construction plans.
“Do I know his health issues? I don’t. Are they something I have empathy for? Absolutely,” Johnson said. “But it doesn’t mean we don’t build a waste-energy plant that is environmentally safe.”
The panel repeatedly emphasized that they are all locals, too, and don’t want to dump pollution into their own backyard or harm their homes.
Dave Case was only Ada County Commissioner to appear at the meeting, and did so as a citizen rather than a representative for the county. He did not stay for the Q&A portion.
Dynamis will hold another public hearing tonight at the Hilton Garden Inn at 6:00p.m.
Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio