Wisconsin tribal organization plans biomass plant

By Lisa Gibson | January 24, 2011

A proposed waste-to-energy facility in Ashwaubenon, Wis., has run into some local opposition, and while the developing company does not need approval from the municipality, it is going through the public input process as a courtesy and to gather feedback, it said.

Oneida Seven Generations Corp., a subsidiary of the Oneida Tribe of Indians, has rolled out plans to build a 5-megawatt, 60,000-square-foot power plant on industrial property in the eastern Wisconsin village. The property is federal trust land, so the village does not have oversight, but the local opinion of the facility is still important, according to Pete King, project manager.

“The municipality had some recommendations and we made some changes based on those suggestions,” he said. “Although we do not need the municipality’s approval, it’s important to note our facility must receive an environmental assessment (EA) approval from both the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Department of Energy.” King added that the EA prepared for the BIA is still under review. “Our trust land is also governed by the federal government via the Environmental Protection Agency. Through those entities, the public can be assured that this will be an environmentally safe and beneficial process.”

The $23 million plant will use 150 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) per day through contracts with private haulers as well as municipalities, King said. The excess power will be sold to Wisconsin Public Service for the local grid. The plant will employ what Oneida Seven Generations calls pyrolysis gasification, where the feedstock is heated and broken down into syngas. If permitting goes as planned, construction could proceed this spring with operation in December of this year, King said.

In assuring the safety of the public, the company has disseminated information explaining that all MSW unloading will be done indoors, inside an eight-inch thick block wall, with landscaping designed to minimize visibility and noise. Construction of the facility will create about 50 jobs, along with another 30 during operation. Oneida Seven Generations has also promised that revenue generated by the project will be used for tribal housing, education, healthcare, infrastructure and other economic development opportunities.



17 Responses

  1. Nancy



    I believe everyone needs to do a little research before accusing the OSGC of building an “incinerator” in Ashwaubenon. It looks like the OSGC has already responded to all of the neighbors’ concerns with their Myths vs. Facts sheet. I found the information extremely helpful, considering every fact is backed up by proper data, including noise, traffic and emissions.My advice to everyone truly interested in the Pyrolysis/Gasification Project is to research the topic first, read the information provided at and then form a legitimate opinion. Writing about a facility you are not familiar with or do not know anything about is senseless. You are not helping anyone by making unsupported allegations. People believe in data, numbers and facts….imaginary assumptions do not really count in the real world.

  2. Generation 8



    Yeah, flubbing their attempt to channel their inner George Orwell in that self-contradictory Seven Generations Myths v Facts ad was a wonderful piece of propaganda... for the opposition! They 'cited' one industry website and then managed to admit: 1. There's no incinerator.... but somehow they're still producing 15 or more tons of ash each day. 2. Ash is ‘inert’... yet they STILL admitted in the same ad the incinerator will produce dioxans/furans, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, nano-particles, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. Well, as long as those aren’t radioactive… 3. Through the magic of turning lead into gold, the incinerated ash is completely inert despite the metals and dioxins it contains. 4. 7G's is doing what it thinks is best for the local communities whether they protest against it or not. 5. That current Waste to Energy facilities meet all safety requirements. In their websites, this is a first of its kind facility so how can anyone rationally claim other dissimilar facilities lead to safety in an experimental incinerator built by someone who has neither built nor operated one before?

  3. No to GASifcation



    It doesn't take much research to discover that this whole scenario is an absolute environmental, health and financial disaster in the making. Research aside (and there is volumes AGAINST this facility), common sense would dictate that a controversial facility, 1st of it's size/type, in the US, built by a builder with no experience in the field IS a disaster in the making with very serious consequences, no ifs, ands, ors, or buts!

  4. Hmmmmm



    Love Nancy's comment... who does she work for? Her comment is dated two days BEFORE the 7Gens 'myths v facts' ad was published...

  5. Mandy



    So true, Nancy, people believe in data, numbers and facts and that is precisely why they are ADAMANTLY opposed to this pyrolysis gasification facility!!!!!!!

  6. Janet



    Well, Nancy, based on non pro industry data, the "real" world abhors the idea of this facility! People, health, the environment and safety all should come before petty cash and a mere 22 jobs! This is well-educated community! There is great opposition against this plant for good reason!!!

  7. Citizens for No biomass



    The public is in no way assured that this pyrolysis gasification plant is environmentally safe. It is not beneficial in any way!!! Instead of "Myths vs. Facts" it's "Facts vs Myths"(the myths of 7 Gens).

  8. True Green



    Nancy...STOP drinking the KOOL-AID and read beyond the "safe sites" the $$$$$$$ is paying for! Why is your need to believe so strong? Or is it that you value $$$$$$$ over people and the environment too? There is a wonderful new tool called the internet where you can type in and search for the truth about GASification ash....OPEN YOUR MIND to the unbiased truth!!!

  9. Digit



    Its a scheme to incinerate trash. Garbage in, garbage out. Neither the proposed builder (Alliance) nor the proposed operator (7 Generations) has ANY experience whatsoever in this field (and no, attending a few seminars didn't make Mr. Cornelius an expert any more than sleeping in a Holiday Inn Express does). Its too bad they are so desperate for respectability that they are willing to play this especially reckless version Russian Roulette with lives and property. It'll be quite the class action lawsuit against the Oneidas for damages. These incinerators were the big things in the 60s and 70s, but had to be shut down because the particulates polluted everything. History repeats itself, first as farce then as tragedy.

  10. No Bio-mass



    Why would 7 Gens and the Oneida Nation (who claims to be the "Stewards of the Land") build this medical and environmental atrocity in an area where 975 parcels of land within a one mile radius, out of 1322 parcels, or 74%, are residential? This is, by their own admission, a first of it's kind facility--a controversial plant--no kinks worked out--no long term health or environmental history!!! The project manager in a Fox 11 online article stated, he has not studied the long term health effects of the plant...yet they are moving on! Above he states that the local opinion of the facility is important!!! Well the local opinion is that we HATE this disaster being forced upon us taking away our health, the health of the environment and our quality of life!

  11. No To Toxins



    There is not an incinerator of any type in the world, that can control all of it's emissions! The remaining are lethal no matter how small the amount! The amount of toxins depends on how well the facility is regulated and who does the oversight. Who will over see this site? What about the toxic "FLY" ash to be hauled away? To where and who will oversee that site? By the way, the ash is toxic, containing more than carbon and zinc. It contains deadly trace metals that haven't been filtered out! Why is it always about the "almighty dollar" instead of about people? If the Oneidas claim to be good neighbors, they will put an end to this disaster in the making!

  12. Karl Wittmann



    Who do I contact in regards to this plants equipment requirements. Please send contact to:

  13. concerned citizen



    This issue brings me back to what I learned in middle school science concerning "states of matter". Garbage that is incinerated is bound to go from solid matter (plastics, paper, used diapers, wood, etc., etc.) into charred solid matter and gases and most probably some liquids involved in the plant process. These gases will escape in the form of nanoparticles that we will all breathe and take into our bodies. There will also be solid matter to dispose of somewhere. Where? Why the Oneida Tribe would want to do this to their people I can not understand? I know they are chasing stimulus money but this is a short-sighted plan. I am very disappointed in the Oneida Tribal leadership.

  14. Bio-Incineration Opponent



    Thank God the Packers are going to the Super Bowl THIS year! If this project isn't stopped in its tracks, next year Rodgers, Driver, Matthews, Clifton, Raji and the gang...whill go WHEEZING/COUGHING down the field with lungs filled with lovely nanoparticulare toxins, courtesy of Seven Generations. Not too many folks will be walking through the Oneida Nation Entrance at Lambeau with big smiles on their face next year. And the non-tribal consumer base you enjoy will probably walk away from other tribal operations as well. Note to Seven Generations: Perhaps you could produce a list for the public to see all the other businesses you've opened/failed over the past few years. That will surely give the public all the confidence they need, right? And how many tax dollars went into those previous business failures?

  15. Concerned Citizen



    This is the third proposed site for this experimental facility. The second site was located in the Town of Oneida and tribal people did not want this facitity in their town. I attended the open house on December 16 and asked questions and did not get many answers other than this is new technology and there is no prior history with this type of facility. The "experts" that the Oneida Seven Generations Corporation brought in acted like they were briefed that afternoon. They did not have any answers. The Oneida Seven Generations Corporation did not listen to the concerns of the 170 plus residents that attended the open house. From the research I did I found out that this type of facility will cause the same type of environmental problems associated with mass burn incinerators including air and water polution. The area around this site is zoned light commercial and residential by the Village of Ashwaubenon. This simply is not a good location for this facility.

  16. Opposed to Biomass Plant



    The Green Bay Press-Gazette article from Dec. 8 relative to Brown County providing waste materials to fuel the proposed OSGC biomass plant, reported that "negotiations broke down in November after the corporation was told they would have to answer the Brown County Board's questions regarding the regulation, operation and location of the facility." Why would OSGC not want to answer the board's questions? Is it hiding something? OSGC approached Brown County because according to the project manager, Peter King, "It just makes sense because there's 600 tons coming through the reservation every day (from the county), so it seemed like it would be the best fit, so that's why we went down that road." I would venture that the county option was more cost effective as well otherwise why approach them to begin with? So OSGC ditches "Plan A" because they don't want to answer questions. Instead, OSGC falls back on "Plan B" i.e., "other waste streams". According to Peter King, "There's private haulers, there's other municipalities, there's other people with waste streams." Apparently, these other providers don't ask questions. To recap, "Plan A" is the "best fit" and "makes sense" but go with "Plan B" no questions asked ... hmmm. Be suspicious of deals shrouded in secrecy. If the project makes sense then OSGC should welcome the opportunity to make a convincing case of it.

  17. Neighbor



    Don't believe that the Onieda Nation is building this for the environment, it's all about the money. Onieda Nations has over 4,600 acres of property they could find a spot that is away from residents, schools, daycares,and parks. They choose to build this facility in Ashwaubenon because it is in Federal Trust. They won't have to pay taxes, and the local municipalities will not have any oversite over what happens. Local authorities would not be able to shut them down if there was a noise problem, trash problem, air/water contamination. Yes this is the third site for this building the 1st site they would have to take off the list to be put in federal trust. 2nd Site was in Ondieda. At the open house in Ashwaubenon Mr.Kevin Cornelius of Seven Gens. told me they had to move the site from Onieda because WPS wouls not let them out of the contract to sell them the electricity. Come to find out, they moved the site because they couldn't get as good of a deal with WE Energies for the sale of the electricity. The only changes they made was moving the site 700ft. off of Packerland at the request of Schneider National, and only because Schneider is paying for them to move it. So if they really cared about something other than money, they could move it from the proposed site. Maybe in an area that is actually zone for this kind of building.


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