City Of Pullman Requiring Port Of Whitman County To Provide More Information About Controversial Plan For A Biodiesel Plant

The City of Pullman is requiring the Port of Whitman County to provide more information about its controversial plan to help develop a biodiesel plant in town.

The port’s plan is to partner with a local startup company called AgTech OS to develop a biodiesel plant near the Whispering Hills neighborhood.  The project needs several city approvals starting with a rezone.  The port has submitted a rezone application to the city for a zone change request from residential to Industrial Research Park.  That process begins with an Environmental Checklist review by the city’s community development director.  RJ Lott is requiring the local government agency to provide more information to be considered as part of his environmental review.  Lott is requiring the port to conduct and submit a noise study before he will continue reviewing the application.  According to a City of Pullman press release Lott may also require additional information from the port as the review process advances.

The port has agreed to buy land South of Wawawai Road on the West side of town to help develop the proposed biodiesel plant.  AgTech OS would build and operate the plant.  The facility would turn local canola into biodiesel.  The project needs to be rezoned and then AgTech OS would need the city to approve a Conditional Use Permit to operate the plant.  The process will involve multiple chances for public comment.  The first will involve Lott’s preliminary ruling regarding the proposed rezone’s compliance with the Washington State Environmental Policy Act.

The proposal has been met with strong opposition from many Pullman residents who don’t want a biodiesel plant located next to a neighborhood.  Nearly 7,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the port’s plan.