Idaho to Sue Air Force Over Dumping Scandal
BOISE, ID – August 23, 2018
Idaho has always been one of the most naturally beautiful states not just when it comes to the Pacific Northwest, but nationwide. Full of national parks and resorts, Idaho has also always been an image of «a quiet harbor», and one of the most beloved places to go on vacation for all Americans.
However, the state’s natural beauty is now under serious threat, as local media reports on massive dumping, by the U.S. Air Force, in Idaho. State officials are now filing a lawsuit against high command, in an attempt to preserve the pristine nature of Idaho and its status as the land of ecological prosperity.
Early last year, a shipment of hazardous waste was taken from Mountain Home Air Force Base to a municipal landfill on Simco Road. However, the discussion of who’s at fault for the prohibited shipment has devolved into disagreements, pointed fingers and now, a lawsuit.
In the midst of it all, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is working out how the base and a contractor it hired will address the now-buried waste. The company that owns the landfill, Idaho Waste Systems, sued the Air Force and two contractors this spring in a bid to force action.
“Hopefully, we can get this thing resolved to everybody’s benefit,” said Jack Yarbrough, the company’s president.
According to court documents and public records obtained from DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality), in 2016 the Air Force contracted with ProTech Coatings of Salt Lake City to remove and replace chemical-resistant urethane floor coatings in three large buildings at the base. The work created 24,360 pounds of debris, which was placed into plastic bags and deposited into dumpsters at the project site.
The waste was tested for one hazardous substance, lead. Meanwhile, ProTech on Feb. 8, 2017, had Glenns Ferry-based Snake River Rubbish empty the dumpsters and deliver all of the waste to the Simco landfill.
The exact amount of hazardous waste involved is in dispute. Idaho Waste Systems’ lawsuit cites an early estimate of 4,000 pounds - 2 tons - of hazardous materials that made it into the landfill.
DEQ used that figure as well, but now agrees with the lead contractor’s much smaller assessment of 371 pounds of improperly buried waste, said Albert Crawshaw, waste and remediation manager in DEQ’s Boise regional office.
No matter how the situation develops and what the court orders each side to do next, this case shows the public how dangerous cooperation with military can be: once you let them on your land, they can do whatever they want there, even if it’s really harmful and dangerous for the ecology.