Thursday, April 20, 2006

Problems at Biodiesel Refinery

By Warren Cornwall Seattle Times staff reporter
"It's an industry praised by environmentalists and heavily funded by state lawmakers. But it turns out that the promise of locally produced biodiesel also comes with the potential for pollution - and one of the state's first large-scale refineries is already running into trouble. "The state Department of Ecology has warned the operators of a biodiesel-crushing plant in Creston, Lincoln County, a small town near Spokane, that the company has committed an 'egregious' violation of state air-quality laws by emitting toxic methanol vapors without a permit. "State investigators also say they have found spills of vegetable oil or biodiesel at the site. Now they are demanding that the owners of the company, Air Energy, show that they can properly handle the plant's industrial waste."