The Governor of Maryland has endorsed a plan to burn chicken feces to produce electricity, despite the harmful impact it is likely to have on air quality, the economy, and farmers.
Via Heartlander Magazine (EXCERPTS):
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced his approval of a project to turn chicken waste into electricity, but the idea still faces opposition from consumer advocates and some environmentalists.
Environmental activists, however, warn turning chicken waste into electricity may transform a modest water pollution problem into a larger air pollution problem. Environmental activist groups such as Food & Water Watch, Green Planet, and the Sierra Club have expressed concern or outright opposition to the proposal.
“Both small- and large-scale combustion processes increase ambient air concentrations of potentially harmful substances such as oxides of nitrogen (NOx), oxides of sulfur (SOx), particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOC), dioxins/furans, and other substances. In addition to harming air quality, the alternate use of poultry litter to generate energy could also potentially affect current poultry litter management practices—such as its transport and the income and employment that its use generates—which could subsequently affect the health of the population in the Valley.”
Food & Water Watch Opposition
Although any asserted water quality benefits may be outweighed by negative air quality impacts, the project’s net economic harms are more certain. As Food & Water Watch pointed out in a fact sheet on the project, Maryland taxpayers will be paying Green Planet Power Solutions $600,000 in subsidies every year. These subsidies will be in addition to state officials obligating Maryland consumers to purchase the chicken-waste electricity at substantially higher prices than conventional electricity.
Food & Water Watch described the project as “greenwashing corporate welfare.”
“Burning poultry litter may actually produce as much or more toxic air emissions than coal plants,” and, “The negative impacts of poultry litter incineration are likely to be borne disproportionately by already vulnerable communities,” Food & Water Watch claimed in its fact sheet.
Wide-Ranging Economic Harm
In addition to taxpayers and consumers worrying about the negative economic impacts of taxpayer subsidies and higher electricity prices, farmers fear the diversion of rich organic fertilizer to electricity production will create fertilizer scarcity and drive up fertilizer prices.
In related news, a Maryland State prosecutor is busy undermining the state’s hospitality and tourism industry in an effort to avoid having to enforce that state’s own laws.
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