The voters of Milan Township acted wisely, we belive, in backing the township zoning board's recommendation to allow Bio-Gas Technologies' waste-gas power project at the Erie County Landfill.
Now we urge all necessary follow through, both to ensure the Norwalk company's project is allowed to bear what fruit it can and to close the door on any abuse of zoning others might want to attempt, using this project as precedent.
The proposal before township voters was to allow a zoning change, in the middle of an agricultural and residential area, that would permit an industrial use of landfill property so that facilities could be built to recover methane gas generated by garbage decomposing, and burning that gas to drive electric generators to produce power. Right now the methane's simply being burned off with a flare, generating nothing except heat and light.
The vote was 722-608, and part of the credit for that healthy margin must go to Erie County Commissioner Bill Monaghan, who made sure the information about the project was in front of the people it would affect.
Care must be taken to ensure some future unscrupulous fly-by-nighter can't use this project as justification for something else less conducive to quality of life. Zoning, after all, is meant to ensure property can be put to its best use without having to worry that what goes on next door will interfere with that. Those who were against the project, though, should remember this goes both ways.
The other piece of follow-up that must be done is to get FirstEnergy to sign on with the so-called "interconnection" agreement that will let Bio-Gas hook up to the area's electric grid, so the electricity produced at the landfill can be sold and transmitted to the people who want to buy and use it.
In an age of distribution agreements among multiple electric producers, we're sure such an agreement is simply a matter of selecting the proper standard procedure and putting it into action.