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LETTER: Purported biodigester benefits are refuted

Opponents of a proposed biodigester in Foothills County contend it's just an industrial gas plant on agricultural land.
xNEWS- Rimrock Feeders RK 8545WEB
Rimrock Feeders in Foothills County, west of High River on Aug. 27, 2022.

Dear Editor, 

Re: Highlighting the benefits of a biodigester, June 19 

In response to the very inaccurate letter to the editor by Stan Richmond regarding the benefits of the biodigester, it is appallingly apparent that the writer has not done any research into this project. 

To not even take the time to get the facts from the actual application and its subsequent supplemental information requests (SIRs) that are openly available on the website,, is concerning. 

The cleaning of the pens now is the cause of the horrendous odour we are subjected to, so cleaning them more often will not reduce or change this in any fashion and this is admitted to in SIR#2. 

The proposed 20-acre lagoon of manure/Calgary waste slurry from the biodigester is fertilizer, but will also be comprised of harmful bacteria, pathogens, antibiotics and a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos (think West Nile) poisonous blue/green algae along with another noxious odours, as admitted by the project manager for Rimrock Renewables/Tidewater Renewables. 

The claimed amount of natural gas from this biodigester project is enough to supply 6,000 homes, but they need to tear up 102 acres of agricultural land to do so. 

The solid material is to be used as animal bedding at the feedlot, with the rest to sit in windrows open to the elements upwind from 16,000 residents in High River. Also, the companies involved have secured an $8.4 million taxpayer-funded grant to market and sell this waste. 

They brag about employing five or six people to run this facility, not many as proclaimed by Richmond. This will absolutely not be a significant employer in the area. 

There will be not be a human waste pipeline from Okotoks to the biodigester project, so no benefit there. 

The fields that this fertilizer is to be spread on are mainly grain crops and animal feed crops, so no huge increase in human food supply and would anyone really want to eat a tomato or a cucumber grown in this filth? Definitely not us. 

The bottom line is that this will be an industrial gas plant on agricultural land in proximity to many residents in Foothills County and High River. And it will be the largest biodigester to be built in North America by a company that has not built one before. 

Benita Estes 

Laurene Mitchell 

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