An offshoot of the Dynamis deal: Ada County's methane mess

Here's a sneak preview of Friday's main editorial.

Strange but true: Methane gas is now such a coveted commodity that a company is preparing to take Ada County to court over it.

But from the looks of it, Ada County commissioners brought this methane mess on themselves — all in the process of trying to cut a dubious deal with Dynamis Energy cq , the latest company to seek to turn county landfill trash into clean energy.

Hidden Hollow Energy faces a bind, resulting in part from the Dynamis dealings.

Hidden Hollow, which has produced energy from landfill methane gas since 2006 cq , has built a second pair of engines to convert gas into electricity. But those engines aren’t running. When the company failed to meet deadlines for startup, Idaho Power voided its contract to purchase electricity from the new engines, levying a $144,000 cq fine. Hidden Hollow and the state Department of Environmental Quality are embroiled in a dispute over hydrogen sulfide emissions from the plant.

But this dispute centers largely on Dynamis. In a $30 million cq tort claim, Hidden Hollow argues that the county’s commitment to provide trash to Dynamis has, in turn, jeopardized Hidden Hollow’s access to methane.

Ada County says there is no merit to this claim, and says it “has had no difficulty” providing Hidden Hollow with its needed supply of methane.

If the Hidden Hollow tort claim grows into a full-fledged lawsuit, attorneys from both camps could be in court arguing over the relative abundance of methane gas. Irony aside, the dispute raises more fundamental questions about Ada County’s headlong rush to do business with Dynamis.

Æ Why is the county so enamored with Dynamis — a company that, to date, is only talking about building a plant to process 408 tons cq of trash daily?

Æ Why does the county’s Dynamis infatuation come, perhaps, at the expense of Hidden Hollow, which has been in the business for six years?

Æ Shouldn’t the county put first things first — working with Hidden Hollow, a company that already pays the county $250,000 in annual royalties, as opposed to Dynamis, which still owes the county $2 million?

Strange times, indeed, around the county courthouse.

I know

that it isn't something that you and other Statesman reporters like to do, but for once Kevin, why not follow up on your own questions concerning this story?