Port Of Whitman County Commissioners Set To Discuss Proposed Pullman Biodiesel Plant During Wednesday Morning Meeting

The Port of Whitman County Commissioners are set to discuss their proposed project to help develop a biodiesel plant in Pullman during their meeting Wednesday morning.

The board voted unanimously during a brief special meeting last week to buy about 200 acres of farmland South of Wawawai Road on the West edge of town.  The property is between the Whispering Hills Subdivision and the Hinrichs Trading Company Ardent Mills garbanzo plant.

The land that was purchased includes three parcels.  According to the commissioners’ agenda, the local government agency needs the middle 81 acre parcel (site B) rezoned by the City of Pullman to heavy industrial.  That zoning would allow for a biodiesel plant.  That parcel is already in the city along with the Northernmost parcel (site A) which is 7 acres.  The board will consider if they want to ask to have the Northern piece rezoned as well.  The southern 96 acres (site C) that were just bought by the port are outside the city in Whitman County.  Port staff are recommending that the commissioners take no action on that property.

According to the agenda the middle 81 acre parcel needs to be rezoned to allow for the proposed public-private partnership project to move forward.  Port officials announced that they have teamed up with a local startup company called AgTech OS.  The plan calls for the port to buy the land and install the infrastructure needed for the proposed biodiesel facility.  The AgTech OS plant would buy local canola and turn it into biodiesel for local farming operations.  The facility is estimated to cost about 111 million dollars and employ 44 people.  The Washington State Department of Commerce has loaned the port 5 million dollars to buy the land.  The commissioners agreed to buy the property for 3.8 million dollars.

Any rezone would require Environmental Checklist approval from city staff followed by a public hearing and a recommendation from the city’s planning commission.  A final rezone decision would come from Pullman City Council.

The Port Commissioners are scheduled to begin their meeting at 10:00 Wednesday morning in Colfax.  The meeting will start with a public comment opportunity.  The meeting is also streamed online here https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86590903284

You can find the agenda and materials and meeting link here https://portwhitman-web.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/meetings/agendas/2023-02-01/2023-02-01%20Packet.pdf