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LETTER: Shocked at enormity of proposed biodigester near High River

Concerns voiced over impacts biodigester in Foothills County will have on humans and wildlife.
xNEWS- Rimrock Feeders RK 8545WEB(1)
Rimrock Feeders in Foothills County, west of High River on Aug. 27 2022.

Dear Editor,

To say that we are shocked by the scope of the proposed biodigester near High River is an understatement.

We received an extremely vague public notice last July stating there would be a biodigester (renewable natural gas facility) built on the Rimrock Feeders property, located one mile from our property. After meeting with Rimrock Renewables and Reeve Delilah Miller, it became apparent this proposed project was going to be enormous.

Concerns:

- A 24-acre effluent pond will be dug to hold liquids that are squeezed out of the manure and from grocery store organics, located on the south end closest to the Highwood River.

- 330,000 cubic metres of water to be siphoned from the Highwood River.

- Tanker trucks will be delivering organics 52 weeks a year from Calgary.

- There will be many extremely large structures, including flare stacks.

- The odour coming from the feedlot has been absolutely foul for a long time. This biodigester has been sold to us as eliminating up to 50 per cent of the odour, but no guarantee. Tidewater has admitted there will be an odour from the pond, which may negate any reduction from the biodigester.

- Public notices were only posted in the High River Times, a newspaper that rural residents do not receive.

- This facility will process 80,000 tons of manure and 60,000 tons of grocery organics. According to the Alberta government, anything over 10 tons is classed industrial. We do not want an industrial facility in this area of Foothills County.

- Foothills County council waived the development permit in November 2020 and sent letters of support for the project and for grants. Landowners were not informed about this project until July 2022.

- The value of our property will decrease dramatically. When I contacted our realtor, his response was, "This project will kill the value of your property." Who is going to compensate us for the money we will lose when we choose to sell?

- The application filed by Rimrock Renewables is currently before Alberta Environment and Parks for approval and a decision will come in February/March. Rimrock is planning to commence construction this spring and be operational in late 2023. FortisBC Energy has signed a 20-year agreement to purchase the gas from this project; it won’t even stay in Alberta.

We want the residents of Foothills County to be aware of this proposed gas plant. This is all about money for two large corporations and nothing to do at all with the impact on the human or wildlife aspect of our community.

For more information, please go to https://www.stopthatsmell.ca, a website where concerned residents have compiled factual material as well as recordings from council meetings.

Alan Tuttle and Laurene Mitchell