Port Of Whitman County Commissioners Agree To Buy Land On Wawawai Road For “Job Creating” Development Days After Revealing Proposed Pullman Area Biodiesel Plant

The Port of Whitman County Commissioners have agreed to purchase three parcels of land for a job-creating project.

The commissioners held a special meeting on Wednesday morning and voted unanimously to buy the land without providing any details about the project only stating that it will create jobs.  The elected officials only informed the public that the land is on Wawawai Road and is being purchased for 3.8 million dollars.  Port Spokeswoman Sarah Highfield and Executive Director Kara Riebold have failed to respond to multiple messages from Pullman Radio News for details about today’s land purchase.

Last week the Washington State Department of Commerce announced that the port had received a 5 million dollar loan to buy land for a proposed biodiesel plant.  It wasn’t until the next day that the port issued a press release revealing the project to develop a biodiesel plant on 100 acres “near Pullman.”  Port officials declined to say where the site was since they hadn’t bought the property yet.  The plan called for using 1.25 million in port tax dollars with the loan to buy the land.

The project involves a new local startup company called AgTech OS to develop a biodiesel plant on the port-owned site.  That facility is expected to cost over 111 million dollars with funding coming from the private and public sectors.  Port officials say the project would sustain about 44 jobs.  The plant would use canola bought from local growers to make biodiesel for local farming operations.  Port officials say the local government’s role in the project is to own the land and pay for the infrastructure at the site.  The press releases said that planning, engineering and permitting could begin this summer.

Property next to the Hinrichs Trading Company Ardent Mills garbanzo plant at the intersection of U.S. Highway 195 and Wawawai Road had been advertised for sale.  A for sale sign on the property was covered with black plastic in recent days.  The property is just outside the Pullman city limits on Wawawai Road West of town.