Exempting certain power generators from Clear Air Act requirements will help Washington farms continue to manage animal waste without harming the environment, under legislation passed today by the Senate on a 41-6 vote.
Senate Bill 5343, sponsored by Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, would exempt single generators that are fueled solely by biogas produced by an anaerobic digester provided the biogas contains less than 0.1 percent sulfur, the aggregate heat input to the generator does not exceed 10 million Btu per hour, and the generator is not located in a federally designated nonattainment area for hazardous air pollutants. The exemption is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2004.
Anaerobic digesters serve the dual purpose of removing animal waste from the environment and using it to generate alternative energy in the form of biogas.
“Those of us who live in areas with farmlands are very concerned with animal waste getting into water, and anaerobic digesters make a huge difference in the quality of our water,” Haugen said. “The digesters are key tools to our keeping agriculture in this state. Without these kinds of tools, we could easily lose our dairy farmers on this side of the mountains.”
Added Sen. Kevin Ranker, chair of the Senate Energy, Natural Resources & Marine Waters Committee: “Anaerobic digesters are an exciting form of renewable energy that recognizes the important contributions agriculture is making to our communities and to our future.”
SB 5343 now goes before the House of Representatives.