Olympia — Legislation that would eliminate a bureaucratic stumbling block for Skagit County’s pending manure digester passed the state Senate handily Monday.
In a 46-1 vote, the Senate approved a bill that would allow food waste to be added to cow manure in digesters that convert the waste into electricity while eliminating methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
The digesters need food waste in addition to manure to create enough energy to make them economically viable, said Kevin Maas, co-owner of Farm Power Northwest. The company is building Skagit County’s first manure digester, scheduled to begin operation in August.
Without the new legislation, dairy farmers would need a solid waste permit to store the food waste — a new regulation they’re not willing to accept, Maas said.
The bill will be considered next by the House.