Lystek myths vs. facts

Guest editorial

By KURT MEYER

In 2017, our company, Montgomery County and the Town of Glen entered into exploratory discussions to evaluate the possible development of an Organic Materials Recovery Center in the established, “shovel ready” Glen Canal View Industrial Business Park.

Since then, we have conducted tours of our facilities, attended numerous public meetings, hosted a comprehensive, public information evening and remained open and transparent with the community about our proven technology, products and services and potential interest in establishing another, successful OMRC in the Park.

We have strived to answer the wide variety of questions we have received, and/or been made aware of from the public and other stakeholders in the community. The majority of people have been extremely supportive and many have asked tough, but fair and respectful, questions.

For the most part, folks have also remained open, understanding and receptive to the answers provided. Unfortunately, there has also been a small, but highly vocal and aggressive, group of people who have shown no interest in being open-minded, or engaging in reasonable dialogue.

As a result, there have been many erroneous and misleading statements made about Lystek, and this proposed project.

Today, we set the record straight by addressing the key, erroneous statements, as follows:

Myth #1: The county, town and Lystek held “secret” discussions about this potential project and have not been open and transparent.

Fact: False. From the outset, all stakeholders involved in this process have been completely open about the proposed project. All rules and regulations with respect to disclosure and transparency have been followed and respected. Lystek has also gone “above and beyond” to provide additional information and transparency, including offering a standing and open invitation to visit our centers, attending town meetings and hosting an information night.

Myth #2: Based on the existing Lystek OMRC in Southgate, Ontario, there would be little to no financial benefit if the Lystek OMRC was established in the Glen Canal View Business Park.

Fact: False. As detailed at the Public Information Center we hosted at the Fultonville Firehall on February 15, 2018, the initial construction work required to complete the Southgate OMRC in 2012 was in excess of $15 million dollars. The bulk of these funds went directly into the local economy. Today, the multi award-winning center is also one of the top revenue generators for the Township in terms of annual taxes and revenue share contributions. This can be verified by the C.A.O. of Southgate, Dave Milliner at dmilliner@southgate.ca or at (519) 923-2110.

At present, the Southgate OMRC employs 11, full time staff and contributes approximately $3.8 million per year directly to the local economy in the form of taxes, employment income, sub-contracts, maintenance and supplies and other financial, spin-off benefits.

Myth #3: The application and proposed project cannot proceed as it is prohibited by the Town’s “Waste Management By-Law.”

Fact: False. First and foremost, as it currently stands, there is no formal application to be considered. As is clearly evidenced in the letter sent, by Lystek, to the Town Planning, and Town Boards alike on March 15, due to feedback received from the town’s engineering firm regarding our initial attempt to apply, we may consider submitting a new application.

In terms of the pre-existing “Waste Management By-Law,” this was not disclosed to us until many months after mutual exploration of the possibility of establishing an OMRC facility in the Park. Now that it has been revealed, however, it is quite clear that this by-law was written to specifically prevent the development of a landfill at the Park. As we are not, and have never been, in the landfill business and are not proposing to establish a landfill in the Park, it is our position that this by-law would most likely be irrelevant to our proposed project. However, at this point, we continue to conduct our due diligence on this, and all related matters.

Myth #4: Regulations governing use of biosolids are lax. If this project were to go forward, it could result in negative environmental impact on the surrounding area as well as declining property values, etc.

Fact: False. There is no evidence to support any of these claims. In fact, there is actually plenty of proof that exactly the opposite is true. Here are just a few facts on the above:

∫ The fact is that the biosolids recycling industry has been around for a very long time in North America and globally. It is one of the most highly regulated sectors in the world. For example, at the federal level in the U.S., biosolids reuse is governed by the 40 CFR Part 503 Regulations, as originally invoked in 1993. In 2002, the National Research Council (NRC) of US National Academy of Science conducted an independent review of these regulations to ensure public health & safety was being protected. The conclusion was that there had never been any scientific evidence that these regulations had failed to protect public health. This same fact remains true to this very day. In the state of New York, biosolids are governed by both state and federal regulations. When New York State becomes authorized to administer the federal regulations (becomes a “delegated” state), the state regulations (6 NYCRR Part 360) then govern. Until then, both sets of regs apply.

∫ If biosolids (or biosolids derived products) are so “dangerous”, as some would have us believe, then how is it that the City of Milwaukee has been able to run its Milorganite biosolids recycling program, safely and successfully, diverting over 9.8 billion pounds of “waste” from landfills (to date) with no major issues for over 90 years? See here: www.milorganite.com/about-us/history. We (Lystek) are currently diverting approximately 400 million pounds annually — also with no issues, whatsoever.

∫ Lystek was originally founded over 18 years ago by a group of renowned scientists and engineers, all who have dedicated their professional lives to the pursuit of researching and developing advanced solutions to help address the challenges we all create as human beings. In the years since then, (dating back to 2005), the company and its technology, including the Southgate, Ontario and Fairfield, California OMRC’s have been repeatedly recognized with awards for excellence and leadership in environmental responsibility, sustainability and stewardship. See here: lystek.com/about/awards/.

∫ Since the Southgate OMRC was established, in 2012, property values have actually gone up. Additionally, the Town has been able to attract a new home developer who is currently in the first phase of a Master Planned Community Development, called Edgewood Greens in the direct vicinity of the OMRC; These facts can also be easily verified by visiting the web site here; www.edgewoodgreens.ca/ or by contacting the C.A.O. of Southgate, Dave Milliner at 519.923.2110 or dmilliner@southgate.ca.

Myth #5: Lystek’s “application” to establish an OMRC facility in Madison County and other communities in New York, were also previously rejected, hence the interest in Montgomery County.

Fact: Again this is false information. While it is true that we did previously consider a site in the Town of Lincoln, which was also represented as being “shovel ready”, this did not turn out to be the case. It was therefore decided, by us, that this initiative would be put on hold.

We were subsequently advised that the Glen Canal View Industrial Business Park in Montgomery County was truly “shovel ready” and looking to attract proven, green industries, such as ours. Therefore, we shifted our focus here.

As further fact, on Jan. 27 we received a follow up email from the Chair of the Madison County Solid Waste and Recycling Committee, asking us to reconsider our interest in that project. We have not yet made any further decisions on this or submitted any applications in other areas of the state of New York.

Myth #6: The small group of people that are opposed to the project at the Glen Canal View Park speak for everyone in Montgomery County, and know what is best for the community.

Fact: Again, not true. The fact is that the population of Montgomery County is over 50,000 strong and it is completely inappropriate for a handful of people to represent themselves as speaking for the entire population of the County.

The simple fact is that we (Lystek) and the caring, dedicated and long serving leaders of the community continue to receive support from many, many people in the County that strongly indicate otherwise. Therefore, it is highly evident that this small group of vocal people who purport to speak for everyone, absolutely do not.

If you would like to obtain more facts about Lystek or if you are interested in exploring careers with us, contact us by email at infoUSA@lystek.com; or visit our website at www.lystek.com.

Kurt Meyer is the president of Lystek International Ltd.

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