Citizens Group Responds to Bion Technologies

While Citizens for Family Farms certainly takes umbrage with the entirety of Bion’s response, we would like to specifically address a few key remarks. To insinuate that citizens who are truly concerned about the future of their communities “carefully crafts” statements is outrageous. We are fighting for our homes, families’ health and the future of our area. The fact that we have found and spoken to people whose lives and environments have been ruined by industrial agriculture operations is a testament to how much time and energy has been put into educating ourselves, and to in turn, educate our communities.

Bion has said of CFF, “Their activities have included publishing in regional news outlets as well as direct contact with Oswego County elected officials at all levels of government.” In the country we live in, The United States of America, this is a freedom granted to every individual. We have freedom of speech and freedom of media. In addition, it is not only the right of citizens; it is indeed the responsibility of citizens to have direct contact with elected officials at all levels of government. Bion seems to be claiming that the residents of Oswego County do not have the right to do what Bion itself has been doing: meeting with elected officials and communicating through the local media. Has Bion forgotten that officials are elected to represent citizens, not Bion? So, between the residents of Oswego County and Bion, who has a more legitimate right to meet with elected officials? We have heard story after story where industrial agriculture operations became entrenched in communities and subsequently destroyed them because the citizens were not properly heard before the fact. We vow we will not allow that to happen here.

We will speak to any elected official we deem appropriate. This is democracy in action and we refuse to sit back and watch the erosion of democracy Bion seems to advocate.

Bion has also stated, “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!” This is indeed true because the technology that Bion proposes to utilize is unproven. Bion’s presentation of information so far fails to adequately demonstrate that their solutions are feasible. It would give Bion’s technology far more credence if Bion applied it to operations that need to be cleaned up rather than creating a new huge mess to clean up. Once the technology is proven at a facility of comparable size, perhaps the people of the community would be more willing to listen.

Bion calls their project an “environmentally sustainable livestock/renewable energy project.” We ask them to explain how a project that plans to import up to 72,000 cattle, concentrate them into confined areas, collect their manure, slaughter 600 a day, import corn and other materials, likely import mechanical equipment and resources, and seek out external funds (likely from a government source) could possibly qualify as “renewable” or “sustainable”? Seriously? Seeing that this project is neither (renewable nor sustainable) does not require a degree in science. Making such a claim is an insult to the intelligence to the people of our community. If this is such a wonderful project, why is there not an existing project on this scale? Why did St. Lawrence County not proceed with allowing the project to be built there? And why did the only other attempt fail so miserably and leave the people of the community holding the check? Bion’s response brings to light what Bion REALLY thinks about the people of Oswego County: we are bumbling idiots who don’t know what “sustainable” and “renewable” mean and who do not have a legitimate right to talk to their elected officials or the media. Only Bion has that right- apparently.

Every single person we have been in contact with was assured by companies (including Bion) that the technology was “state of the art” and there would be no problems at all. Perhaps the Bion promotion team should consider giving some community members who have had to live with industrial agriculture operations a call themselves to see how perfect and trouble-free the technology has been and how many lives have been destroyed by “state of the art” technology.

What all of this boils down to is a few people making a ton of money off of government subsidies, carbon credits, and the back of the communities they force themselves upon. We have no intention to sit back and allow that to happen. Bion’s reaction shows they seem to expect the people of our community to just sit back and welcome them in without any legitimate questioning of the project. We will not be a passive part of allowing Bion to attempt to erode democracy or our environment. You can bet your bottom dollar on it.

Karen Hall
Citizens for Family Farms