A second look at biofermenters


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Attention editors, High River Times:

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My very first letter to the editor was written to the High River Times anywhere, anytime on August 26, 2022. It was in response to the public announcement in The Times regarding an “application notice” for permission to build a biodigester at Rimrock feeders.

It spoke to an application to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for “permission to construct, operate and recover the Rimrock Biodigester Facility” and claimed: “More than 10 tons of organic food resources and manure per month are collected and processed through anaerobic digestion in of the plant for the production of renewable natural gas.”

I withdraw my consent to this facility as written in my letter. I trusted the words. I shouldn’t have.

Here are the facts:

1. When they say “more than ten tons of organic food resources and manure per month…” the document actually means 100,000 tons of manure and 80,000 tons of off-farm organic food resources, up to manure processing. Total: 180,000 tons per year.

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2. Since Rimrock is only allowed to produce 77,000 tons per year under its permit, where does the extra fertilizer come from and what are the off-farm organic food resources?

3. This biodigestion plant is an all new 100 acre facility costing $65-70 million including a huge manure storage building, six huge partially buried tank digesters, plans for two more, many smaller tanks, a Torch, a 35-acre open effluent “digestive pond” adjacent to a natural pond and wetland, and more. Quite an industrial complex that will require rezoning, adjacent to a community designated as a “rural housing area” by the county.

What do these facts really mean for our entire fellowship?

Tanker trucks running continuously from Calgary; one every hour there and back in daylight. How much non-green fuel will they use to produce so-called green fuel? How many trucks will be on these roads when you add those serving the current feedlot and transporting products?

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A draft notice I read states that the biodigester “will noticeably reduce odors in the environment”. When CFO Kendra Donnelly was asked at the September 12 meeting how much the biodiger would reduce odor, she provided the following response. “There’s some research on odor reduction, but we’re not making any promises.” If you really want to know the truth, take a road trip to see the Lethbridge Biodigester at their industrial park…it stinks.

Where is the environmental study that says this industrial complex is safe, next to a county residential area, waterfowl, eagles, on winter roads, in forty degrees Celsius? What happens if we have another 100-year rain event or an emerging industrial problem, e.g. B. a leak in the ground or in the air or an employee injury?

What I understand now is that this is a huge industrial development, not a small agricultural facility reclaimed on site. It should be taxed in an industrial park with all its services, security controls, entrances and accordingly and produce its green products there.


J Denney

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