Project comment response – February 22, 2011

All TerraPass projects undergo a public comment period while they are being evaluated for inclusion in our portfolio, so that the general public can provide feedback and ask questions. Below is TerraPass’ response to the comments received for the Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, Wisconsin.

This project’s comment period was open from November 11 to December 11, 2009. We publicized the open comment period in a blog post, including the blog summary email which was distributed to over 25,000 active recipients. We received four comments during this time.

Two comments were focused on the broader implications of large scale farming on the environment, animal welfare and worker rights. Regardless of how you feel about large-scale farming the manure from large dairies can create massive greenhouse gas emissions and hopefully we can all agree that controlling those emissions is in the best interest of the environment. The anaerobic digester installed by Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy will destroy thousands of tons of green house gas emissions every year and we believe it deserves support and encourage all large-scale farms to install similar technologies.

The above said, Pagel’s Ponderosa is a a family owned dairy with a rich history in Wisconsin. It was built up over the last 30 years from 65 cows to more than 4000 by the son of the original owners and has been a boon to the local economy and the Wisconsin dairy industry. The Pagels put a strong emphasis on animal welfare (the happier the cow the more milk she produces) and run a large educational program for local school kids (and adults too!). It’s one of the best run farms we’ve visited and the family is committed to providing safe, clean and environmentally responsible milk.

The other two comments focused on possible end uses for digester gas and other by-products. Every project must assess the technologies that work best for them. In this case, generating electricity from the biogas made more sense than upgrading it to vehicle fuel or pipeline grade gas, although that technology works well for other projects. The project is also utilizing every by-product that it can, effluent is used as an organic fertilizer, solids are used as animal bedding and engine heat is captured and used to warm the digester. By being as efficient as possible in running the projects their positive impacts are maximized and returns improved so it’s a win-win situation.

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