Mountain News: Banff sewer helping save planet 

BANFF, Alberta – Banff is trying to position itself in the emerging market for reduction of greenhouse gases. If all goes as projected, the town will be able to earn $550,000 from sale of carbon offsets as the result of methane reduction in its local sewage treatment plant.

In 2002 the community upgraded the treatment plant. The improved plan has composting tunnels that, with the aid of wood chips and a longer processing time, yields 2,500 tons of biosolids. The sewage has been augmented recently by food waste from local restaurants.

This new process significantly reduces the emissions of methane, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide in retaining heat in the atmosphere. In the old process, the sludge would have been deposited in the landfill, and there decomposed, emitting the methane into the atmosphere.

Banff, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook, plans to use the money, if it can get it, for additional projects that reduce greenhouse gases.

The money for carbon offsets so far comes from voluntary programs, such as when organizations decide to offset their festivals, for example. Such was the case in Telluride recently when organizers of Mountainfilm paid a hydroelectric power producer in nearby Ouray.

The City of Aspen similarly is paying for work at a coal mine in east-central Utah. There, methane is being trapped and, after purification, put in natural gas pipelines for uses such as heating homes.

In Alberta, Calgary-based Blue Source Canada has been set up to help conduct carbon offset transactions. So far, there have been seven such transactions. Edmonton has a landfill gas capture project, plus there have been two wind projects, one biomass energy project, and three transactions resulting from reduced tilling of farms. Reduced or no-till farming means more carbon remains sequestered in the soil.


Dumber and Dumbest

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. – A couple years ago an Aussie and a Kiwi, both quite young, robbed a bank in Vail, where they had been working. Not only were they customers of the bank, but they did not try to disguise their accents. To top it off, they wore the name badges from the sporting goods store where they worked.

No, there was another telltale clue: When they booked flights to Mexico, they tried to pay with the ill-gotten $132,000. They were quickly dubbed Dumb and Dumber.

Mammoth may have a pair of thieves that deserve to be called Dumber and Dumbest. The Sheet says a pickup truck was stolen, but then abandoned after a snowmobile being carried in the back launched into the truck cabin.

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