By Caroline Henry
A great deal has been written and said about Quasar Energy Group’s operations and intentions in Western New York. We respect and share the community’s concerns for public health and safety, but we weren’t prepared for the reaction, frankly, for two reasons:
First, because land application of biosolids is not a new idea – it is well recognized as a safe method of recycling nutrients by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory authorities whose mission is to protect human health and the environment.
Farmers across New York State have been land-applying biosolids for decades. Quasar did not invent the process. We have, however, improved the process by introducing precision application methods guided by field soil tests and GPS tracking. We work with farmers to identify the nutrient application rate that is right for their fields and the crops they intend to grow.
Second, because our process recycles energy and nutrients – valuable natural resources that will become scarce unless we find a way to capture them from the waste stream. Anaerobic digestion produces renewable energy without increasing the carbon footprint and keeps nutrients out of landfills.
In 2014, we all have recycling bins sitting next to our trash bins because we recognize that by separating resources from the waste stream, today’s garbage will be repurposed into tomorrow’s product. That’s what Quasar does; we take today’s waste and we turn it into useful products – energy and nutrients.
Today, Americans regularly purchase goods made from recycled paper, plastic, glass and aluminum. We seek these recycled products because we want to do our part to protect the environment. And that’s who Quasar is – we are a company that has invested a significant amount of private capital into technology solutions because they improve the environment and because there is a need and a demand for what we provide.
Quasar acknowledges we could have been more proactive in reaching out to the community and hearing and addressing its concerns about our process. We want the communities in which we work to be comfortable with what we do. We are planning a variety of opportunities for people to see for themselves, to tour our facilities, to discuss the issues.
We will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the Wheatfield Community Center. We invite all interested citizens to attend, and look forward to a constructive dialogue.
Caroline Henry is a vice president for Quasar Energy Group.