Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

Health Impacts Assessment: Poultry Litter to Energy Facility

A new project was proposed in the Shenandoah Valley to build a facility north of Harrisonburg that would convert poultry litter to energy. As part of the preliminary ground work to gather information on possible health impacts of the project, the VCU Center on Human Needs was asked in 2012 to conduct a Health Impact Assessment Analysis (HIA) of this proposed project to engage community members in gathering information as part of the Health Impact Assessment. The IEN was contracted, with facilitation assistance from Dialogue + Design Associates, to facilitate the stakeholder engagement public meetings, which were technical and complex. The project was seen by some stakeholders as an environmentally beneficial use for poultry litter that would reduce the amount of litter used in land application and thereby reduce the contribution of agricultural runoff to Chesapeake Bay pollution. However, others viewed the project as a potential risk to human health as there were still many unknowns, such as whether and how much it would contribute to air pollution in Valley. The meeting brought together a range of stakeholders to provide input into this controversial project.