OSWEGO, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Bion Environmental Technologies is moving ahead with a plan for a slaughterhouse and ethanol facility located somewhere in Oswego County.
After a lukewarm reception initially in the summer of 2009, Schroeppel expressed an interest in the project last fall.
The town of Schroeppel has been “very receptive” in terms of wanting to understand and learn more about the proposal, according to L. Michael Treadwell, director of Operation Oswego County.
The company is proposing to build a huge beef slaughter operation somewhere in the county; Schroeppel is one option, but the company will entertain other proposals if offered.
The project, if accepted in the county, is still more than a year or two away, according to Jeff Kapell, vice president project development.
Kapell presented a brief update at the Operation Oswego County offices.
He said the project is a good thing, looking at the number of jobs it will bring the county.
It would also be a benefit for county farmers, he added. If the project becomes a reality, it would mean a large new market for county hay and corn farmers, Kapell noted.
Under the proposal, there would be more than 70,000 head of cattle housed somewhere in the county. There would be an estimated 600 direct jobs created, about 400 of those would be at the process plant, Kapell said. They will be full-time jobs, he added.
“This type of activity typically has a spin-off impact creating other jobs,” he said.
Bion has been very open about wanting to meet with various groups within the county to discuss their concept, Treadwell said.
“This is an on-going process of trying to inform the community and allow for an exchange of information,” he said.
There were concerns about various issues, including water and air pollution due to the large amount of cattle that would be involved.
“It is critical that this project be transparent to the community,” Kapell said.
In fact, he added, Bion has established a web site “with a lot of good information” and includes a place for the general public to post questions.
“We really wanted to establish a mechanism whereby the folks in the community could ask their questions in an open way and the responses they got would be transparent. We need to do everything we can to maintain an open dialogue.”
It is an industrial activity, he said of the project.
The project would be “closed-loop.” It would use animal waste to make energy to power the ethanol plant, use ethanol waste to feed the cattle and slaughter and package the beef to sell to consumers throughout the Northeast.
Bion is currently incorporating its waster-treatment technology at a dairy farm in Lancaster County, Pa. (which which is in permitting right now, not up and running).
The EPA will review the success of this project, Kapell said.
“It’s the same technology we’re talking about up here,” he said. “The only concern is how well does the waste treatment perform. We have said from the beginning that a condition for us moving forward ought to be that we get this report back and look at the results in order to ensure that this technology will do what we say it will do.”
The project won’t stop while the testing is going on, Treadwell pointed out.
“They will still be looking for potential sites. They will be doing a lot of additional research and funding sources will be pursued,” he said.
“We’re looking at a year to two years before we can even engage in environmental review; construction will be another year and a half or so,” Kapell said. “We’re talking about a very large, very complex project. It’s going to take a long, long time to develop.”
To find out more details, or to ask questions, go to www.bionoswegoproject.com