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Kootenai Tribe of Idaho

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A proposal for a $25 million incinerator to turn household garbage into electricity has the tribe divided. "This is nothing to me,'' tribal member Dixie Abraham said. "I have lived without this for so long, what makes you think I want this today?'' But tribal business manager Steven Garwood countered that the high-technology incinerator will not only generate 12.5 megawatts of power and needed employment for the Panhandle, but would eliminate the need for local landfills. The tribe is looking for a $500,000 rural Community Block Grant to finance a study and engineering of the facility. During a recent presentation, Kent Pope of Energy Products of Idaho said the cutting-edge "fluidized bed'' technology used by his company thoroughly burns the wood and municipal waste to reduce or eliminate any toxic emissions. But residents and some tribal members are skeptical, questioning the idea of shipping trash into the county just to keep the plant running. Tribal Councilwoman Eileen Wheaton disclosed a planned buyout of other part-owners of a 160-acre tribal allotment for the incinerator. Worried the tribe is offering too much money, she called it "economic blackmail.'' The fact the plant would draw on Cabinet Mountain Water District water drew criticism as well.

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