Barrio Logan, New Leaf clashes over plans for biodiesel pipeline

Barrio Logan residents are as soon as once more saying one thing smelly a few controversial biodiesel plant of their neighborhood as its operators current new constructing plans to the group.

Residents expressed concern concerning the New Leaf Biofuel facility in October, saying the vomit-like odors coming from the ability had been making them in poor health.

Now, 4 months after regulators from the San Diego County Air Air pollution Management District ordered the plant to instantly start odor mitigation, the corporate needs to construct an underground pipeline to attach its warehouses.

New Leaf officers say the objective is to scale back truck site visitors from one a part of the plant to a different in a neighborhood choked with diesel air pollution.

Nevertheless, residents against the undertaking say additional development will solely additional cement the buildings positioned in the neighborhood.

New Leaf Biofuel has confirmed to be a nasty neighbor, stated Nicholas Paul, an air high quality advocate with the Environmental Well being Coalition. We do not need this firm to spend money on infrastructure that can maintain them within the neighborhood for a lot of extra years to come back.

Residents take heed to a presentation on Wednesday by New Leaf Biofuel, which recycles used cooking oil and turns it into biodiesel, about its plans for an underground pipeline connecting areas of its Barrio Logan facility.

(Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

New Leaf Biofuel, which opened on Newton Avenue close to Major Road about 15 years in the past, is an industrial firm that handles the 24/7 conversion of used cooking oil into biodiesel.

Burning diesel or renewable biodiesel can scale back greenhouse fuel emissions by 50 to 85 % in comparison with petroleum diesel, in response to the California Air Assets Board.

In December, New Leaf officers stated the corporate recycled greater than 30 million gallons of cooking oil into biodiesel, avoiding greater than 300,000 tons of carbon equal to taking 68,000 automobiles off the street.

However a byproduct of turning cooking oil into biofuel is the robust, bitter odor that close by residents stated they might odor from their properties.

In December, the corporate accomplished the set up of an odor discount system as required by the county’s Air Air pollution Management District, together with industrial-grade air flow and filtration gear permitted by air high quality regulators of the county.

Since then, the neighborhood together with residents have noticed a major discount in practically as robust odors from the ability.

However the stench of damaged guarantees stays.

Throughout a month-to-month assembly of the Barrio Logan Group Planning Group on Wednesday, spokesperson Jim Bartell unveiled development plans for a pipeline that New Leaf CEO Jennifer Case stated was years within the making.

A woman's hands rest on a document containing a project plan, on a desk next to notebooks, a can of seltzer and snacks.

New Leaf Biofuel proposes a plan for an underground fuel pipeline connecting elements of its facility on the Barrio Logan group planning teams assembly on Wednesday.

(Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The 12-inch pipe will journey beneath Sicard Road to attach the plant’s cooking oil purification web site with the biodiesel manufacturing web site throughout the road, Bartell stated on the assembly.

When working at full capability, the ability presently makes roughly 11 spherical journeys from every property per day, carrying oil and returning empty to refill. A pipeline would get rid of them, Case stated.

He stated the corporate would additionally make enhancements to public roads, together with new pavement, sidewalks, curbs, gutters and 4 timber.

As soon as the permits are permitted, New Leaf officers say development will take two to 3 weeks, and in response to metropolis rules, the street may very well be resurfaced and repaved a month later.

A man in a sweater is holding a document in his hand and stands before a seated audience.

Spokesman Jim Bartell speaks on behalf of New Leaf Biofuel.

(Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Not sufficient

Ultimately week’s assembly, practically each seat in the neighborhood corridor was stuffed as among the two dozen residents in attendance took turns voicing their considerations concerning the undertaking.

At any time when one in every of these initiatives occurs in our group, they at all times say it is good for the group, however then in spite of everything is alleged and finished, it is not good for individuals who need to earn money, stated Peter Colon.

Lindsay Wynn, who lives on Sicard Road, says small as they might appear, initiatives like this nonetheless disrupt the standard of lifetime of residents. You’re getting this nice pipeline to save cash. We’re getting 4 timber.

Maria Corral described life throughout the road from the institution within the Barrio Senior Villas house advanced as a dwelling nightmare.

For about three years, she could not open the home windows or use the patio due to the terrible odor and feared the fumes would result in well being issues for her husband Roberto, who’s in remission from bladder most cancers.

Though he says the odor has improved and he can now use his patio, the ability’s operations are nonetheless affecting his day by day life and can proceed to take action if the pipeline is put in. Our golden years are taking place the pipe, and it is not truthful.

Brisvana Peralta and her mom Connie, who run a preschool close by, say they have not taken their youngsters to a close-by playground in ages. We have not dated since all this craziness began, she stated.

A seated man wearing a fedora and holding a small dog and a sheet of paper gestures as he speaks in an audience.

Resident Pete Colon speaks out in opposition to a pipeline undertaking within the neighborhood at Wednesday’s assembly.

(Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Council members famous that the undertaking is inconsistent with the brand new Barrio Logan Group Plan, which was unanimously permitted by the Metropolis Council in December 2021 and is pending approval by the Coastal Fee.

Whereas the up to date group plan will assist guarantee no new industrial buildings are allowed within the neighborhood, Bartell stated New Leaf has develop into a grandparent and might proceed to function.

Nevertheless, the up to date plan demarcates the world for residential and business, reasonably than industrial, improvement, planning group president Julie Corrales added.

A woman wearing a yellow kerchief holds and plays with a baby as she sits next to other seated audience members.

Maritza Garcia, a Barrio Logan coverage advocate with the Environmental Justice Coalition, performs along with her daughter, Hinata, in the course of the Wednesday assembly.

(Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Deserted homes, spilled oil

In current months, residents have continued to contest the New Leafs operations.

They alerted town of deserted properties the corporate bought on Newton Avenue to be used as worker parking. County assessor information point out that New Leaf bought the 0.8-acre property in September for $560,000, the place two properties stand with overgrown entrance lawns and boarded up home windows and doorways.

Paul says residents are appalled not solely that the ability is increasing into the neighborhood and additional depleting his already restricted housing inventory, but in addition that six months after its buy, the properties are nonetheless run-down and attracting vermin to their properties. neighboring homes.

Final month, the county’s hazardous supplies incident staff responded to a cooking oil spill that preliminary stories indicated was 30 to 40 gallons from a third-party supply truck on the New Leaf property and surrounding streets. . Photographs taken by residents present oil-stained streets close to the intersection of Newton Avenue and Sicard Road.

They force-washed all that grease on the sidewalks, and the place did it go? Proper on the backside of the storm, Barrio Senior Villas property supervisor Miguel Espinoza identified.

A man in a San Diego Padres baseball cap gestures and looks off camera.

Barrio Senior Villa resident and supervisor Miguel Espinoza has spoken out in opposition to the New Leafs plan for a fuel pipeline connecting its plant.

(Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Over the previous two weeks, county air high quality regulators stated they’d investigated new odor complaints concerning the plant. The district has investigated the complaints and is attempting to determine the supply of the odors.

The district additionally issued a violation discover to New Leaf on Wednesday for failing to conduct an asbestos investigation forward of a renovation through which the drywall was changed. The district has since verified that the drywall didn’t include asbestos.

These updates will probably be offered on the subsequent district council assembly on Thursday.

When requested concerning the points throughout Wednesday’s assembly, Bartell did not instantly reply.

The New Leafs pipeline undertaking will probably be reviewed by the Barrio Logan Group Planning Teams Mission Assessment Subcommittee earlier than it returns to vote on whether or not or to not suggest the undertaking on the subsequent teams assembly at 6:00 PM April 19 at Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Heart.

The planning teams’ vote is a suggestion. The undertaking solely requires metropolis approval to proceed.

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