Surry should reject biogas

Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

When Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods partner to sell the public on a “renewable energy” project, it is incumbent upon the public to look deeper.

Dominion Energy is best known for overcharging Virginia customers by over a billion dollars and lobbying to expand harmful fracked gas production. Smithfield Foods is the nation’s largest hog producer, littering our rural areas with polluting factory farms that crowd out small farmers and hollow out our agricultural communities. Both companies are in the business of making money at the direct cost to our environment, health and climate.

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Thanks to perverse economic incentives, a new wave of false biogas solutions is hitting the market in rural communities across the country. The greenwashing term “renewable natural gas” (RNG), as the industry calls it, is really just greenhouse-gas-producing methane captured from factory farm animal manure and turned into pipeline-grade gas.

Efforts like Dominion’s and Smithfield’s joint Align RNG project are intended to make money off of polluting factory farms ( and the transport of manure waste across the region. What they don’t tell the public is that the manufacturing of this animal waste will bring its own pollution emissions and odors during the transportation and around the new facility. And little is ever shared on whether these RNG projects will mean large new pipelines on people’s properties.

Let’s not be fooled: Biogas projects like this one are nothing more than a false climate solution from polluting industries that want to remain relevant ( Biogas in Virginia will only entrench factory farms and fossil fuel infrastructure. Virginia will not be fooled by these companies’ green-washed marketing. Surry County must stop biogas before it starts.


Jolene Mafnas

Food & Water Watch Virginia organizer