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Bion Responds To Opposition Group’s Comments

Provided by Bion

Citizens for Family Farms (CFF) is conducting an aggressive campaign to generate opposition to Bion’s proposed environmentally sustainable livestock/renewable energy project.

Their activities have included publishing in regional news outlets as well as direct contact with Oswego County elected officials at all levels of government.

Their declared mission is to “educate” citizens.

However, they continue to grossly misrepresent Bion’s project to all who will listen, while ignoring the actual facts.

Their arguments are disingenuous at best and serve to seriously mislead the Oswego community.

In their letter to the Schroeppel Town Board, CFF stated “we are writing to provide you with names of individuals you can speak with about the negative impacts of the Bion Project.”

The letter goes on to say: “These individuals have all had extensive experience dealing with similar operations and the incredibly devastating impacts they have on communities.”

Their statement is carefully crafted using the word “similar” in linking Bion to the environmental challenges of existing large scale livestock operations.

However, in making their claims, they have intentionally ignored the vast differences between the proposed Bion project and those of existing Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

“Similar” to the Citizens for Family Farms is a distinction without a difference, as they proceed to paint Bion’s project as “identical” and not “similar.”

Let us be perfectly clear: Bion understands that all livestock production results in nutrient loading to both air and water, and therefore large scale livestock facilities should be required to obtain permits to ensure that the facility uses proper waste treatment and other technologies to meet the same standards applied to any other large industrial activity.

The purported “experts” for the CFF are individuals who have a history in opposition to CAFOs and can speak with passion and authority about the environmental impacts of these facilities on local communities. Indeed, their concern for adverse impacts based from these traditional operations has support in experience.

But it is necessary to note that they have simply not had ANY experience (let alone extensive familiarity) with facilities utilizing technology similar to that proposed by Bion!

It is the perpetuation of this myth that is most destructive to real dialogue and any honest effort to inform the Oswego community!

To believe their claims about Bion would require accepting the myth that the CAFOs these people are familiar with fairly represent the Bion project.

They do not!

For starters, one must understand that their collective experience with large scale livestock operations is based on facilities with no regulated livestock waste treatment technology.

A single beef cow produces the waste equivalent of about 10 humans.

Bion has proposed individual livestock facilities with a minimum of 14,400 beef cattle per individual location or the waste equivalent of 144,000 humans.

One need only imagine the impacts on a community from a housing development for 144,000 humans with no effective sewer and waste treatment!

But these are the impacts that CFFs purported experts insist on warning us against!

8 Comments

  1. Dear BION,
    Oswego County has been home to many a wonerful idea, in fact PAS jumps to the forfront of my memory. Oswego County and NYS have been cleaning up that wonerful idea for over 30 years with no real end in $ight. So, while your noses get a little bent out of joint about the qusetions asked, we in Oswego County have a good reason to ask them. THe other problem is that you CAN’T answer the questions because you don’t know who will build and operate these 5 cattle barns, ethanol plants , cattle sewage treatment plants and the slaughthouse. Again, when you can answer ALL the questions about ALL parts of the project (not just nitrogen and cow poop) come back. It is not just the manure that needs to be addressed – it’s the whole project. In fact bring the people that will run the place, those are the peolpe we really want to talk to.

  2. I do not believe anyone is disputing Bion’s Technology. I feel that improving technology to upgrade systems in existing CAFOs is a probably a good idea.
    Bion’s financial statements indicate that without additional cash they will not be a “going concern” in the near future. The EPA website has posted a report that says they (the EPA) can not monitor all the existing CAFOs in this fast growing industry. They (Bion) are developers who want to put 72,000 head of cattle in our “CAFO free” county along with a 600 head a day slaughter house and another ethanol plant. They will use government money for development, reap the benefits of the world market for carbon credits and live on Long Island or Colorado.
    They refuse to post performance bonds, environmental bonds or any bond that would protect our existing farmers from animal bearing diseases brought into the area.
    Bion Technologies, Inc. is missing the point, we support family farms in our rural communities. And to be perfectly fair to all residents of Oswego County – Bion has been somewhat vague about the patented process and where all these huge factory farms are going to located. Thank you. Citizens for Family Farms

  3. In all fairness are all the Oswego County farms “bonded” in cases they were to infect BIONs cattle? At this point I am not for OR against the project, I just feel they are tap dancing around the questions. When they can tell us who will be running this thing come back and talk. Untill then they are wasting our time.

  4. I am livid. I just spent a long time formulating and expressing my take on this article from Bion. However, when I submitted it, I received an error saying that the CAPTCHA code was incorrect and to go back and re-enter it. Upon doing so, I was taken back to a blank page, therefore negating my work. I shall not start the process over again until I am assured that the system will accept my comment. We shall see.

  5. As has been stated before in numerous circumstances, Bion’s technology is not the primary bone of contention. Most 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. We have heard this answer many times. The opposition is coming from myriad disciplines, not just environmental. Bion is totally neglecting the many other concerns being raised.

    Who will be running the slaughter house (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 job positions available 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? They 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), as has happened in other locations? The township, the county, the state? With taxes paid by New York residents? Why would we 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 them 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 us has done any research, nor has any knowledge of these concerns, is just not accurate. Many of us have spent untold hours researching and contacting those who have had direct experience with these matters, companies and situations.

    Finally, I would like to state that I am not affiliated with Citizens for Family Farms nor any other organized opposition group in the area as far as I know. I am not a farmer. What I am is a concerned citizen who lives in Oswego County because of its rural atmosphere and relatively pristine environment. My 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. Please stop trying to place the blame 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.

  6. Using their own statistics, Bion has estimated the waste flow from 14,000 cattle to be equivalent to the out put of 144,000 humans. Census. gov, in 2007, lists the population of Syracuse, NY, at 144,000. This means that they would be putting in a small area of Oswego County the need for the equivalent of 5 Metropolitan sewage treatment plants. That plant has trouble when there is excess rainfall or snowfall melt, and it is pretty much state of the art. We will have to deal with open lagoons, and if there are any problems, the water supply of a large area of our town and surrounding towns will be affected. And, we are to trust that they have the proven technology to handle this? We don’t have a problem now, and should not have one, if we don’t have 72,000 head of cattle dumped in our town and surrounding towns

  7. I am not affiliated with Citizens for Family Farms but I have been following the discussion re: the Bion project with strong interest. (I *am* a resident of Oswego County in a town adjacent to Schroeppel.) Considering the following from this recent letter:

    “Similar” to the Citizens for Family Farms is a distinction without a difference, as they proceed to paint Bion’s project as “identical” and not “similar….The purported “experts” for the CFF are individuals who have a history in opposition to CAFOs and can speak with passion and authority about the environmental impacts of these facilities on local communities…But it is necessary to note that they have simply not had ANY experience (let alone extensive familiarity) with facilities utilizing technology similar to that proposed by Bion!”

    It is notable that Bion representatives take liberties themselves with “identical” and “similar” in this response to the CFF. In other forums (e.g. SUNY Oswego presentation), Bion has only described their plans in general and conceptual terms, without any data that applies to the actual size or nature of the project as proposed for Oswego County. Their proposal incorporates some technologies that have been used in other scenarios but is an untried venture in the form that they wish to pilot here. Borrowing from their own phrasing, “it is necessary to note that they [Bion!] simply have not had ANY experience (let alone extensive familiarity) with [the type of facility they are proposing for our county].”

  8. Here in Cayuga County, we have had 2 spills in 3 years from the same digester into the same stream leading to Owasco Lake — hoses not attached properly, someone turned the wrong valve on and the wrong valve off and a pipe burst, etc. With that many hundreds of thousands of gallons of dangerous methane-packed, e-coli-packed liquid manure hanging around, sooner or later there will be some little human mistake and you’ll have it in your water supply. Just say NO!

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