City Of Pullman Starts Reviewing Port Of Whitman County’s Plan For A Biodiesel Plant Near Whispering Hills

The City of Pullman has started reviewing the Port of Whitman County’s controversial plan to help develop a biodiesel plant on the west side of town.

The port has partnered with a private local startup company for the proposed plant near the Whispering Hills Subdivision.  The local government agency has agreed to buy land South of Wawawai Road for their proposed Agricultural Advancement Campus which would feature the plant as the anchor tenant.  The land needs to be rezoned from residential to allow for the project.

The port is asking the city to rezone the land to Industrial Research Park.  If that’s approved then the plant operator AgTech OS would need the city to approve a Conditional Use Permit to operate the plant.

The review process is underway as the city has received the rezone application.  The first step is for the city’s Community Development Director to determine if the rezone complies with Washington’s Environmental Policy Act.  Once RJ Lott issues a preliminary ruling on the checklist the public will have two weeks to comment on his initial ruling.  Lott’s final determination can be appealed to the city’s hearing examiner.

After the environmental checklist process is complete then the city’s planning commission will make a rezoning recommendation after hearing more public comment.  The rezone decision will ultimately be decided by Pullman City Council.

If the rezone is approved then AgTech OS will have to obtain a Conditional Use Permit to operate the proposed plant.  A CUP would be decided by the city’s hearing examiner and would involve another opportunity for public comment.

The proposed biodiesel plant has been met with strong opposition from several Pullman residents who are opposed to locating the facility near a neighborhood.  Nearly 7,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the proposal.

You can read the port’s rezone application and environmental checklist document here