Beef, ethanol plant gets initial approval in New York

by Joel Crews
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NEW YORK, N.Y. — Local lawmakers in the upstate New York town of Schroeppel have approved a proposal to develop and operate a beef processing plant and biofuel production facility in the Oswego County community. Initially the project, proposed by Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc., would include facilities for finishing up to 72,000 head of cattle along with a processing plant and a biofuel production plant. The Town Board of Schroeppel on Dec. 10 approved a resolution to support the project and encouraged federal and state officials to also support the "Bion project," according to the company.

"It is an exciting project for Central New York and we’re happy to welcome Bion to the Town of Schroeppel," said Paul Casler, supervisor of Schroeppel.

According to the company: "Bion’s 72,000 head, integrated and closed-loop beef cattle project will be the largest individual cattle livestock facility east of the Mississippi River. It will also be a worldwide model for environmental sustainability. Implementation of Bion’s demonstrated and patented comprehensive waste treatment technology will result in the project’s finishing facilities exhibiting the smallest per head environmental footprint of any large livestock operation in the world."

Developers plan to produce corn-based ethanol at the facility at energy balance levels that are in sync with cellulosic ethanol projections. The location appealed to the company because of its proximity to a major port capable of handling large-scale imports of bulk corn and exports of ethanol and beef products. The project is expected to create about 600 jobs in the county.

"The Project’s low environmental footprint will enable this large-scale livestock facility to co-exist within 300 miles of markets with 50 million people creating the opportunity for local branding based upon environmental attributes. Its scale will be the basis for both environmental and economic sustainability rather than being a source of environmental concern. This Project is based on Bion’s proprietary, patented waste treatment technology and its integration into its closed loop integrated livestock project platform."

Officials say the next step involves pre-construction due diligence including working with local economic developers to determine a specific location and move forward with approval and acquisition of the targeted land. This process is expected to take up to two years.

"Bion’s unique technology and expertise are what make this Project viable and will ultimately result in upstate New York becoming the world leader in environmentally sustainable livestock production," said Jeff Kapell, Bion’s vice-president of project development.

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