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E-M:/ Solving our organic waste problems ...

Enviro-Mich message from Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com>

On Thu, 23 Sep 2004, Anne M. Woiwode wrote:

> Thanks for your question -- more than 50 Sierra Club members and
> supporters came to the Capitol for a full day of meetings with
> Legislators.  This wonderful, diverse group ranged in age from teenagers
> to senior citizens, came from all over the lower peninsula, and talked
> about three primary issues:
> - the critical need to address concentrated animal feeding operations
> (CAFOS), which attention to asking legislators to oppose the methane
> digester subsidy bills which were before the House that day; and

Hello Anne,

Could you please explain the logic of your above position.

My understanding is that it is not a give away of tax payer dollars but
rather, a loan program beginning with a total of $25,000,000 that is to
be made available:


>From a technical viewpoint:

the only logical solution to the enormous amounts of manure that are
produced by cafos, is the use of anaerobic composting disgesters which
extract from organic wastes, methane gas for use as fuel to produce
electricity which is sent back into utility company's power grid, for
sale back to them, while also producing compost for use on our farm lands,
displacing the present use of petrol-chemical derived fertilizers which
not only consume huge amounts of fossil fuel to produce, but also destroy
the long-term viability of the soil.

It should be noted that anaerobic composting disgesters can also solve
in a similar fashion, the current problems we have with disposing of
our organic wastes in landfills and incinerators but that is another

For a model of a large scale, successful implementation of such an
approach to organic wastes, I refer you to Nova Scotia in Canada.
Michigan should also implement such an approach, by educating the
general public and our political leaders as to the feasibility.

Below is an email from David Wimberly <davidwimberly@eastlink.ca>,
who pioneered much of the work in Nova Scotia and which explains
their approach.

It can also be read here:

[USCC] Biomass energy priorities ...

I also refer you to this unique index approach that they take to the
general issue of sustainability which Michigan should also develop:

GPI Atlantic - A Genuine Progress Index (GPI) to Measure Sustainability


Lowell Prag

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 21:11:08 -0700
From: Gary Liss <gary@garyliss.com>
Reply-To: US Composting Council Compost Discussion List
To: compost@compostingcouncil.org
Subject: [USCC] Biomass energy priorities ...

I am forwarding these from another list for the Compost list members' info.

>Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2004 14:45:35 -0300
>From: David Wimberly <davidwimberly@eastlink.ca>
>I have been a long time anti-incineration activist and have also
>consistently promoted more sustainable and healthy alternatives.  I live in
>the Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada area where I was the chief citizen
>architect and advocate of our Waste/Resource Management System. Paul Connett
>and many others have stated it is the best in the world although it is far
>from perfect.  Currently we conserve about 48 to 49% of what was once MSW.
>This week an initiative will be announced designed to get us to 60%. Our
>citizen's strategy outlined how to reach 88%.  A very current critique using
>state of the art evaluation including costs/benefits to the environment is
>available at http://gpiatlantic.org/ I helped write/research the final
>section on how to go forward.  Please download it.  Other reports there will
>also be widely useful.
>I have led and help lead successful battles to stop imported waste
>incinerators, a PCB incinerator, a MSW incinerator, a medical waste
>incinerator, and a sewage sludge incinerator.  Currently my main interest is
>in helping others acquire the tools and perspectives to be successful in
>compassionate social action in a wide spectrum of arenas in modern society.
>Here in Nova Scotia citizens are very strongly opposed to incineration.
>Only one remains and it is in Cape Breton.  I am horrified to see how much
>incineration is being promoted elsewhere. And I find repugnant suggestions
>to incineration sewage sludge.
>Our local government is promoting a very unsustainable form of sewage sludge
>land application for current materials.  They want to use a slightly less
>problematical form in the future, which I and many others don't accept
>The only long term solution to the pollutants in sewage sludge is to never
>put them there in the first place.  Much better source controls is where I
>chose to put my energy in this area.  I propose source controls based on
>"Zero Toxic Discharge" and the "No Net Degradation" regulatory model.  These
>should be informed by the Precautionary Principle.  If we endorse
>"solutions" to any material that includes landfill, incineration or any
>other form that permanently wastes or destroys them, then every living thing
>looses. Eventually we will have turned our world into waste.
>The core of the NS/Halifax MSW program is source-separated composting, which
>produces clean organic material we have real need for with our thin soils on
>rocky ground.  Similarly we need to promote systems that are actually
>sustainable for the organics in sludge.  Pathogens and toxins are difficult
>problems, but lets only promote methods that truly eliminate them, not turn
>them into one more problem like incineration or landfilling.
>Here in Nova Scotia we have a few Solar Aquatics sewage treatment systems
>that turn sludge into plants and leaves the water clear and clean. Only
>slight ultraviolet treatment is done, mostly as a precaution.
>With every best wish,
Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485
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