Plans unveiled for $100 million biogas processing facility

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THROOP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Plans were unveiled Wednesday for another possible industrial project in Lackawanna County’s Mid Valley.

A company called Meadowbrook Energy LLC is looking to build a $100 million facility that would convert biogas from the Keystone Sanitary Landfill into renewable natural gas.

Location for the project is everything.

If approved, the facility would be built on a 20-acre piece of land on Marshwood Road in Throop.

Right now, the land is empty but it could soon turn into one of the largest biogas processing facilities in the country.

Developers want to take biogas from the nearby Keystone Sanitary Landfill, clean it and turn it into renewable natural gas that can then be fed into existing pipelines owned by UGI.

Randy Holmes is the president and CEO of the company looking to build the facility.

“We have a contract with Keystone where we will buy their biogas as a feed-stock for the process. We have no other arrangements with Keystone. They’re running their organization as they wish. We’re completely independent from Keystone,” Randy Holmes said.

Residents like Joseph Stalaca think the project could be a benefit.

“Anything renewable is positive for the environment. You don’t have to use the fossil fuels,” Joseph Stalaca of Moosic said.

Developers say their facility would not have a large physical presence like other projects.

It would feature up to five concrete pads with equipment and tanks that are between 50-75 feet tall.

They believe the Meadowbrook facility would even improve local air emissions.

“Once our plant goes into operation, there will actually be fewer air emissions in the valley than there are today,” Holmes said.

With more and more vehicles running on renewable natural gas, some local residents see this type of development as the future.

“They already have pick-up trucks available, buses, the national parks had natural gas buses for years!” Stalaca said.

Developers say construction of the plant would create 100 union jobs and the facility itself would lead to between 15 and 20 full time employees. 

Crews are hoping to get all the permits they need and begin construction by September. If that happens, the plant would open in the second half of 2019.

Developers are planning to present their plans to Throop borough council in the coming weeks.

They’re also working on a website to educate the public about their plans.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Friends of Lackawanna, a grass-roots environmental group that has opposed the expansion of the Keystone Sanitary Landfill released the following statement:

“Meadowbrook Energy was listed in KSL’s Harms-Benefits submission as a benefit.  However, this is another example of hypocrisy and double-speak from KSL that seems never ending.  Just this week in the health meeting at Mid Valley High School regarding our air quality, KSL insisted there are no air pollution problems and that KSL has state-of-the-art gas collection systems.  Now they say Meadowbrook Energy will allow them to reduce gas emissions at the landfill by diverting the pollution.  This is clearly an admission by KSL that their facility is not as “state-of-the-art” as previously advertised.

We have seen many proposals from KSL that promise environmental benefit (i.e. long proposed but yet un-implemented plan to move waste from an unlined portion of the landfill to a lined portion–the real reason for doing this is to create more landfill capacity for disposal). It wouldn’t be hard to believe that the real reason for diverting the gas is self-serving and not for the benefit of the community.”

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