PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:


May 6, 2009

Louis Zeller 336-982-2691 (office), 336-977-0852 (cell)
David Mickey 336-624-2412
Sam Tesh 336-366-2980


Today at a press conference in Elkin, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League released a stunning report showing that the proposed Fibrowatt manure incinerator would deposit dangerous levels of poisons up to six miles from the plant site. The report concludes that the incinerator would contaminate the surrounding area with arsenic, chromium, mercury and other pollutants.

The report’s computer modeling predicts that a Fibrominn-type plant would exceed North Carolina toxic air pollutant limits; for example, chromium emissions would be 265% of the allowable NC level.

Lou Zeller, the League’s Science Director and author of the study, said, “Three years ago, we argued that Fibrowatt was not good enough for North Carolina, and today we have further evidence that burning poultry manure would threaten the environment and endanger public health. A Fibrominn-like plant would belch toxic air pollution into Surry County communities.”

In preparation of the report, Zeller used both the US Environmental Protection Agency’s SCREEN3 air pollution model and the Worst-case Scenario Model. The worst-case model captures not only main stack pollution but also the area pollution sources. He explained, “This incinerator would have not only smokestack emissions but fugitive emissions from the plant site. An NC air quality permit, which would not take into consideration these fugitive air poisons, would not protect the people of Surry County.”

State air quality officials conducted their own air modeling for a hypothetical poultry manure incinerator. On March 11th permitting chief Don van der Vaart reported that his calculations show excessive arsenic emissions at nearly three times the allowable level. State law requires that any poultry manure incinerator meet the test of Best Available Control Technology. However, the League worries that with only Fibrominn to base a BACT analysis on, North Carolina’s requirements will be determined by politics rather than technology. The League has asked the Environmental Management Commission to take over the BACT decision-making.

The League maintains that North Carolinians deserve an open public decision-making process for our state’s first-ever manure incinerator.

The press conference marks the launch of the League’s public information campaign on poultry incineration burning in Surry County. Next Monday the League and the national Center for Health Environment and Justice will host a forum on the dangers of waste burning, the risks posed by Fibrowatt and safe energy alternatives. The May 11th forum, which will take place at the First United Methodist Church, will feature Stephen Lester, an internationally known expert on waste incineration.


More info: BREDL Modeling Report | May 11 Forum Flyer