Call For An Expanded Study

Shenandoah Valley Network and the Shenandoah Riverkeeper sent this letter to the Advisory Group before its first meeting. The portions in italics, below, reflect our recommended additions to Athe group’s proposed study goals.

February 10, 2011

To the Shenandoah Valley Poultry Litter to Energy Watershed & Air Advisory Group,

Our conservation organizations support the goal of providing meaningful options in the Shenandoah Valley to achieve net nutrient load reductions in the poultry sector. We believe there are some promising technologies in litter to energy systems. However, we think the scope of research outlined for the Litter to Energy Advisory Group should be expanded significantly, as outlined in italics below.

We also request that the advisory group conduct any further meetings in the Shenandoah Valley to encourage greater participation among local stakeholders.

Recommended Additions to Original Study Outline

The advisory group will help develop the scope of the research, including:

·       Determining net nutrient load reduction levels – taking into account reductions from litter-to-energy system as well as potential new load from replacing land application with commercial fertilizers.

Expand to compare nutrient reduction results from multiple manure to energy systems at multiple scales, e.g. incineration, gasification and pyrolysis, both centralized and distributed.

·       Analyzing effects from emission deposition on the Chesapeake Bay watershed and effects on Shenandoah National Park air quality

Expand to measure all environmental impacts to the region of manure to energy alternatives at all potential scales, including odor, public health, land use and transportation impacts. Examine air emissions in context of the region’s air quality attainment status; how might emissions from a manure to energy plant limit Valley communities’ opportunities in other economic sectors and how does that compare to alternatives at smaller scales?    

·       Analyzing various waste ash handling options to determine impact on Chesapeake Bay watershed

Expand to include analysis of impact on watershed of all processing byproducts; including ash, biochar, bio-oils, bio-solids, syngas, etc.

·       Analyzing and comparing costs of alternative solutions for nutrient reductions in the  Shenandoah Potomac watershed

Develop a cost-benefit analysis that addresses costs and benefits of manure to energy options at all scales: document costs and benefits to the local environment, economy and community; document full range of public subsidies needed to make options commercially viable; examine the long-term economic impact of each option on producers, including the cost of replacement crop needs, such as carbon; determine which option at which scale provides the greatest cash flow benefit to producers, while achieving the best net nutrient reduction.