Neighborhood Group Sues City over Bayview Hunters Point Biodiesel Plant

A Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood group last week filed suit against the city planning department alleging San Francisco trampled environmental laws when it exempted a proposed biodiesel plant from having to undergo an Environmental Impact Report back in 2008.

Back in September, the city ruled that Darling International's plan to add a biodiesel facility capable of producing 7.5 million to 10 million gallons of fuel yearly to its existing rendering plant at 429 Amador Street was “categorically exempt” from review under the California Environmental Quality Act because the addition “would not result in a 10,000 square feet addition to the existing facility” and “no unusual circumstances surrounding the Project that would suggest a reasonable possibility of significant environmental effect.”

Yet,a suit filed in Superior Court on March 5 by the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates and their lawyer, Deborah Behles of the city's Environmental Law and Justice Clinic, claims the city did not adequately consider “all aspects” of what it will take to build a biodiesel plant in the neighborhood. To wit:

“Darling's proposed biodiesel facility will ad three to four 100,000 gallon above-ground tanks, four to five 10,000 gallon above-ground storage tanks, fat refining vessels, a methanol recovery system, a methanol recovery scrubber, a marine fueling station, and a loading system to its existing rendering plant. … This facility will be producing, using, handling, and storing hazardous wastes that are not used in the current rendering operations such as methanol and biodiesel.”

The suit further claims that the city's exemption did not take into account the proposed marine fueling station, increased boat and truck traffic, generation of “air, water, and solid wastes,” or the rendering plant's history of racking up odor complaints (28 and counting, according to the lawsuit).

The plaintiffs are demanding the city to “comply with CEQA” — that is, mandate an Environmental Impact Report — and reimburse “costs of the suit incurred herein” and “attorney's fees … and other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.”

You can read the full text of the suit here.

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