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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, February 29, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Group Challenges Biodiesel Plant Approval

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The San Francisco Planning Department failed to consider "all aspects" of a proposed biodiesel addition to a rendering plant when it exempted the add-on from environmental review, an environmental advocacy group claims in Superior Court.

Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates opposes the department's approval of the addition to Darling International's rendering facility in Bayview Hunters Point. The added facility is designed to produce 7.5 million to 10 million gallons of biodiesel fuel per year. The existing plant renders used animal and food byproducts down to materials that can be resold as soap, feedstock and other chemicals.

The planning department said the addition was exempt from environmental review because it wouldn't increase the size of the existing building more than 10,000 square feet.

However, the plaintiff says the defendant failed to consider "all aspects" of the new facility, including three to four 100,000-gallon above-ground storage tanks, possible methanol recovery systems, a loading system and a marine fueling station.

"The Project would handle and store hazardous wastes not currently used by the rendering facility," the lawsuit claims. "Moreover, the Project would generate air, water, and solid wastes." The plaintiff notes that Darling's rendering plant has a "history of odor pollution," with 28 confirmed complaints and 30 unconfirmed complaints between 2003 and 2007.

There is a "reasonable possibility" that the biodiesel facility "will have a significant effect on the environment due to unusual circumstances," the plaintiff claims.

It is represented by Deborah Behles with the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic.

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