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Explore our latest coverage of environmental issues, climate change and more.

Owners Of Landfill Methane Project File For Bankruptcy

A company that planned to grow food year-round using methane from the Brattleboro landfill has filed for Chapter Seven Bankruptcy.

The Burlington-based Carbon Harvest Energy has been generating electricity from methane at the former landfill since 2010.

It planned to use some of that energy to heat a greenhouse that would produce aquaponic vegetables, edible fish, and algae for biofuels research.

Carbon Harvest had a contract with the 19-town Windham Solid Waste Management District, which operates at the former landfill site.

Bob Spencer, the waste district director, says the company had built a half-acre greenhouse and that the project seemed to be moving forward.

“In October it was operating. They had the greenhouse full of basil, and various lettuce greens. And then before the end of the month they just announced they were laying off their employees and started cleaning out the greenhouse. So we were all very disappointed here at Windham Solid Waste District,” Spencer said.

Spencer says he learned last fall that the project had run out of operating cash. But he adds that Carbon Harvest President Don McCormick, hoped to attract new funds and stay afloat.

Spencer says the project was selling between $10,000-$18,000 worth of electricity per month.  He says the Vermont Economic Development Authority  is currently running the methane operation.

VEDA is among the lien holders listed in the bankruptcy documents, filed last week.

Susan Keese was VPR's southern Vermont reporter, based at the VPR studio in Manchester at Burr & Burton Academy. After many years as a print journalist and magazine writer, Susan started producing stories for VPR in 2002. From 2007-2009, she worked as a producer, helping to launch the noontime show Vermont Edition. Susan has won numerous journalism awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for her reporting on VPR. She wrote a column for the Sunday Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. Her work has appeared in Vermont Life, the Boston Globe Magazine, The New York Times and other publications, as well as on NPR.
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