Commissioners support citizens in biodigester saga


XENIA — The Greene County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Thursday supporting citizens affected by the Herr Road biodigester.

The boad said it recognizes that there have been many complaints lodged by citizens of Bath Township and the City of Fairborn related to the Renergy /Dovetail Biodigester operation on Herr Road. The resolution also acknowledges that there have been multiple lawsuits filed against Renergy/Dovetail related to its Bath Township operation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) have exclusive jurisdiction to restrict, control, and monitor the biodigester, according to county officials.

However, according to the resolution, the county supports the citizens of Greene County to have their general health, safety, and welfare protected by those agencies with the authority to act on their behalf.

“The commissioners are sensitive to the concerns of the citizens of Fairborn and Bath Township related to the biodigester operations,” said County Administrator Brandon Huddleson. “The USEPA and OEPA are the regulatory agencies who have authority over its operation. The commissioners support their efforts to ensure it is in compliance with all pertinent regulations.”

The facility has been the source of nuisance odor complaints since 2015 as reported by citizens through the Smell My City app, which can record odors by way of location, intensity, description of smell, linked symptoms, as well as additional notes.

As of its Feb. 23 meeting, the board declared its full support of the USEPA and the OEPA in their efforts to ensure the Renergy/Dovetail operation is in compliance with all pertinent regulations. As of January 2023, citizens of Bath Township and the City of Fairborn have reported more than 6,840 tunes of extreme odors.

According to a citizens report (which stated facts were based on OEPA’s eDoc system), Ohio more than over 128 million gallons of storage capacity for biodigester product (per OEPA records) and these facilities have been issued more than 180 Notice of Violations from OEPA and have been involved in numerous lawsuits since 2016. Renergy has been issued three notices for violating the Clean Air Act/Clean Water Act.

A citzens group which formed to try to keep the biodigester in compliance wasn’t 100 percent thrilled with the resolution. The group sent the county a draft resolution for consideration.

“The citizens of Bath Township and Fairborn would appreciate the support and concern the Greene County Commissioners showed the solar farm group with their hard-hitting resolution,” said resident Lorie Venable. “We modeled our resolution straight from the one the commissioners signed for the solar farm group for it only to be watered down. We have attempted to get the commissioners help and support for over five years and this resolution really boils down to ‘Commissioners hereby declares its full support for the USEPA and OEPA in their efforts to ensure the Renergy/Dovetail operations is in complaisance with all pertinent regulations.’ That’s the problem, OEPA has not enforced federal or state laws and regulations. We feel that the commissioners once again threw the citizens of Bath Township and Fairborn under the bus.”

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