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LETTER: Biodigester’s impact too great for neighbours

Foothills County resident says leave our agricultural lands alone so we can all live happily ever after. 
NEWS- Rimrock Feeders RK 5012WEB
Rimrock Feeders in Foothills County, west of High River, on Aug. 27, 2022.

Dear Editor, 

In the past three months I’ve been following with interest the proposed Rimrock/Tidewater Renewables biodigester debate in Foothills County and Town of High River. At this point, I believe it should be a non-starter for the simple fact that it is an industrial project being proposed on agricultural lands.  

The project has unsubstantiated estimates and predictions from two corporations with absolutely no vested interest in the County or the Town of High River. I believe it will only multiply the existing problems of foul odours and air pollution. It also has the potential to ruin the economy of High River for many generations to follow. 

This proposed facility should never have reached the desk of AEPA in the first place when Foothills County knows full well how close the Town of High River is to the feedlot and the issues it has created for the retirement community. 

The community is directly downwind from the feedlot with a hospital that treats cancer patients, long-term and short-term care facilities, world class chuckwagon races, parades, rodeos, balloon festivals, auto shows and numerous outdoor park activities that inevitably will all be affected if the existing odours are not eliminated or drastically reduced more than their 45 per cent estimate. 

Their odour reduction does not even take into account the additional odours of other dynamics from the biodigester process of added gases, flare stack, open air ponds or piles of digestate waiting to find a home on pastures also located within proximity to the town. 

There are so many unique environmental factors and variables with wind, dew, inversions, crop dust, existing smaller feedlots, meat processing plants and river proximity that it baffles me as to how Rimrock thinks it could even predict all these factors will have no effect on the air, or ever be suitable enough to co-exist five kilometres from High River and many Foothills County residents . 

The taxpayers from the town and county, residents, farmers, ranchers, tradesman and builders of our great community are the number one importance and deserve to live in harmony with the pristine Foothills we call home that two corporations stand to alter for nothing other than profit and greed. 

At this point in many seniors’ lives, they will be unable to uproot, pack their belongings and move away due to physical constraints and mental well-being, nor will they possibly be able to at all if they have decreased property values and no affordable alternative in neighbouring towns or cities. 

This also stands for young families that chose to make High River their home and now have to re-think their futures.  

Leave our agricultural lands alone and make the NRCB accountable to enforce compliance at the Rimrock Feedlot and we can all live happily ever after. 

Bill Bews 

Foothills County 

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