Maryland was supposed to be deep into the planning stages for a manure-to-energy plant by now, a plant that was a key component in the state’s strategy to reduce pollution from poultry manure.Getting rid of Maryland's excess chicken shit, so that farmers won't spread it on their fields and contribute to the eutrophication of the Chesapeake Bay? What could possibly be wrong with that?
The state signed a contract in October 2013 with Maryland Bio Energy, a subsidiary of California-based Green Planet Power Solutions, to construct a power plant on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The plant was to turn 175,000 tons of poultry manure — about 75 percent of Maryland’s Eastern Shore’s excess manure — into electricity. The state and the University of Maryland signed on as customers. A federal subsidy was in place. The plant was to be built in the fall of 2015 and to generate energy by 2016.
Its construction would have given poultry growers a safe place to take manure they could not use as fertilizer because of new rules designed to reduce pollution from phosphorus. Many of the Eastern Shore’s fields are saturated with phosphorus, and poultry manure is phosphorus-rich.
Instead, the state’s manure-to-energy plan appears stalled. Neither Green Planet Power Solutions nor Maryland Bio Energy have applied for the necessary air permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment, according to officials there. That permit review alone would likely take 11 months — the amount of time that the MDE estimates when public concern mounts in a public review process.
Several environmental groups, including the Assateague Coastkeeper and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, oppose various aspects of the proposed plant. They are concerned about high ammonia emissions and health consequences.What? You mean burning shit is even dirtier than burning coal, Maryland's traditional way of generating power? Whoda thunk?
Several local environmentalists are concerned about that site because it’s close to an African-American neighborhood. There is a growing concern in the Chesapeake Bay watershed — and everywhere else — that minority and lower-income communities have disproportionately borne the brunt of industrial processes, whether they are massive chicken operations or incinerators. Somerset County planning director Gary Pusey said the company would need a special exception to operate a manure-to-energy plant there. That application process would take at least six months, he said, and could take longer with public opposition.We could satisfy the social justice people by claiming some land in Montgomery (Maryland's wealthiest) to erect the shit burning power plant, and then truck or railroad thousands of tons of chickenshit through the suburbs to the power plant? I'm sure that will go over well.