Seems to be an awful lot of whining coming from Erie County concerning their plans to burn landfill gas and turn it into electricity. The recent referendum petitions are the latest target for blame. The county would have all of us believe that it's always some else's fault when their plans are thwarted.
Early in 2000, Erie County placed an ad in the Register looking for "Requests for Qualifications" for collecting and using landfill gas. Having designed a couple of similar gas collection and pressurization systems for arc tube manufacturing facilities in China, I offered to give Erie County the designs and counsel them on system development. As an environmentalist, and seeing the potential for a cleaner environment, I offered my services for free. I never heard back.
The landfill occupies 210 acres in Milan Township. By zoning resolution, the county is limited to that site for landfill activities. In 2005, Erie County purchased some property across the street from the landfill to supply cover dirt. It was confusing to hear that Erie County wanted to "give" some of that property away so an out-of-county contractor could develop his personal business interests. Also, with stiff opposition to the rezoning from local residents, it amazed me that Milan Township would ignore local residents' demands not to rezone to permit expansion of landfill activities.
So, it shouldn't surprise anyone, especially Erie County, that petitions were passed to put the zoning change to a vote of the people. The landfill has tainted our earth, water, and air and the manipulation of our only local environmental protection under the Milan Township Zoning Resolution should be met with stiff resistance.
Regardless of their complaints about interference by others, Erie County is solely to blame for any delays and problems with its landfill gas project.
Mark F. Bohne