Good afternoon everyone,
One thing government bodies do from time to time is “kick the can down the road” on a tough issue.
Such was the case when the Sussex County Council listened to opponents to the Bioenergy Devco project. The digester at a former Perdue site in the Seaford area would mainly convert chicken litter to natural gas.
Delaware Public Media reported the council delayed consideration of the project, which requires numerous permits. Few expect the council to turn down the project, which would pump millions of dollars into the county’s economy.
You can’t blame the council for briefly delaying action. Food and Water Watch, a Washington, D.C. group on the environmental fringe, offered lengthy testimony on the plant’s supposed environmental dangers.
Food and Water Watch, among other things, wants to take the Biden Administration’s pause on new drilling on federal lands a step further and halt all exploration.
In this case, Food and Water Watch ignored the environmental dangers of loading waterways and perhaps underground water supplies with nutrients.
Delaware’s Inland Bays have long struggled with excessive nutrients that degrade water quality. A combination of residential growth (fertilized lawns) and chicken waste spreading has contributed to the problem.
Solutions have been proposed over the years. One proposal from a Maryland company would convert droppings into methane that would be used to generate electricity.
More recently, solutions center on producing biogas transported via a tank truck company owned by Dover-based Chesapeake Utilities.
It is true that the anaerobic digester converting waste to gas indeed operates under high pressure. The process is heavily regulated.
Food and Water Watch and others of their ilk’s real goal are to make life difficult to the point that the chicken industry moves out or reduces its footprint on the peninsula. That won’t happen, given continuing investments by growers and processors.
Instead, we get junk science-based arguments that, if foolishly employed, would be terrible news for the environment. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.