Bion Doesn’t Get It

Regarding Bion Environmental Technology’s proposal for a mega-facility (or facilities) in the Town of Schroeppel: Bion continues to overlook the fact that their technology is not the primary bone of contention in respect to the opposition of this project. Most people agree that the technology will be a great improvement over what is now being done. However, as before, Bion has missed the point. With every avenue of opposition made (whether regarding the impact on family farms, infrastructure, taxes, property values, tourism/recreation, safety, jobs, and waste facilities, to mention a few), Bion has had the same reply – that the environmental technology will leave a considerably small footprint and will do no harm. Stop already. This answer has been heard many times. The opposition is coming from myriad disciplines, not just environmental. Bion is totally neglecting the many other concerns being raised.

For instance, who will be running the slaughterhouse (being referred to as a processing plant), the feedlot (being referred to as a finishing facility) and the ethanol plant? These will be the people who will be responsible for setting wages, hiring, maintenance, etc. Bion will only be affiliated with the environmental facility. So Bion has no answers to the questions that are needed to make an informed opinion. Regarding the 600 jobs that will supposedly be available, many of the higher paying jobs will be for executives and skilled positions for people that are familiar with the aspects of these types of facilities. That would mean relocating and recruiting people mostly from west of the Mississippi. The lower paying jobs are the ones which few people can tolerate performing. It has been shown in other facilities that migrant workers have had to be brought in to do these jobs. Jobs will also be lost in some areas, such as recreation and tourism, family farms, etc. Ultimately, the increase in job positions will be negligible.

Who will be responsible for maintaining the infrastructure, including, but not restricted to, roads, bridges, railways, waterways, Oswego harbor, refuse facilities, etc.? Is this to be taken care of by New York taxes or county taxes? What about the tourism and recreational industries? There will be an adverse effect and jobs will be lost. What about the problems of disease and the inability of local farmers to compete with a facility of this size? With an influx of 72,000 cattle initially and presumably another 600 per day to replace those being slaughtered (yes, 600 per day), no matter how clean the environment is, there will be the danger of bringing in disease which could shut down all farms, not just the CAFO. Bion has already said that they would not be willing to post a bond to cover such an event. Meat may be cheaper, but likely at the expense of quality.

Who cleans up the mess if the facility fails (or explodes) or has a leak putting huge amounts of liquid manure into the soil and water systems, as has happened in other locations? The township, the county, the state? With taxes paid by New York residents? Why would anyone want to do business with a company that reports in its own Q-10 form (quarterly report), dated 3/31/2010 that “the auditors stated that conditions exist that raise substantial doubt about the Company’s (Bion’s) ability to continue as a going concern”. This report also shows numerous stock transactions and loans (both personal and commercial) that have been made, as well as legal suits against Bion to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just how solvent is this corporation?

These are just some of the many areas which have generated the opposition to this project. Assuming that none of those in opposition has done any research, nor has any knowledge of these concerns (as stated by Bion) is just not accurate. Many people (academics, politicians, scientists, environmentalists, farmers, general local residents and many others) have spent untold hours researching and contacting those who have had direct experience with these matters, these companies and situations.

Finally, it must be said that this writer is not affiliated with Citizens for Family Farms (which has taken most of the blame for the opposition) nor any other organized group in the area as far as I know. This writer is a concerned citizen who lives in Oswego County because of its rural atmosphere and relatively pristine environment. Her family has lived in the Central New York area and has owned property in Oswego County for over a century. No single, broad definition is available that will encompass the number of people who are in opposition to this project. Bion needs to stop trying to place the onus on any one group (which has also been tried by others) or area of contention. The opposition is massive and involves myriad disciplines. This is not a single-issue matter.

Janice Wilson


  1. “Most people agree that the technology will be a great improvement over what is now being done”
    IF it works as claimed. IF disposal of the byproducts of the technology are less contaminating than current technologies. IF it can be accomplished in an economically feasible manner.
    Questions about the technology still need to be answered.

  2. Joyce, I absolutely agree with your comment. My point was to merely state that Bion can only answer questions about the environmental aspects of this four tiered project and the we have already heard their same answer over and over. We need answers to many more questions regarding other areas of concern. I guess your point is that I left out the phrase “If it is proven to work as descibed”, and for that I acknowledge and accept your criticism. My bad. Sorry and thanks.

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