Health Department seeks public comment on BioFuels permit

Special to the Mountain News

 Editor’s Note:  The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department had issued the following press release, announcing their interest in receiving public commentary on the extraction of methane gas at the Graham landfill and its subsequent production into Compressed Natural Gas.  In the past, LRI has told the Mountain News that they hope to produce up to 5,000 gallons per day of fuel from the Graham site.

 Recently, this topic has been widely discussed as Dr. John L. Diller’s 99 acre horse ranch is directly across Meridian Avenue from the Graham landfill, and many Mountain News readers feel that the county’s actions to seize his 39 horses may have been triggered in some fashion as a means to providing some of the land necessary for this project.  However, the Mountain News has not found any evidence to support this notion to date.

 Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, Tacoma, WA:

 Have something to say about a proposed renewable energy plant in Pierce County?  You have the opportunity to comment to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department on a proposed permit that would allow BioFuels Washington, LLC, to operate at the LRI Landfill south of Graham.

 The health department will accept public comment on the BioFuels permit application until 4:30 p.m. Nov. 26 via the internet at www.tpchd.org/biofuel, via email at ehsolidwaste@tpchd.org, or by mail or in person at 3629 S. D St. Tacoma, Wash., 98418.  Review the proposal online at www.tpchd.org/biofuel, or in person at the health department’s Environmental Health counter.

 BioFuels proposes to use LRI’s landfill gas to generate electricity that the renewable energy producer would then sell to Puget Sound Energy and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) that would be marketed as a vehicle fuel or added into a regional natural gas pipeline.  Currently, the landfill gas is burned via two existing flares at the landfill.

 If approved, the proposed construction would initially include a 7,545-square-foot steel building on the northeastern portion of the LRI Landfill site.  Construction would involve an estimated $2 million worth of local jobs during the course of the six-month project.  Up to three people would be employed at the facility. BioFuels has proposed long-term plans for additional phases of construction, which would conclude as late as 2022, depending upon demand.

 As part of its permit review process, the health department will consider BioFuels’ proposed operation and any related impacts to the community, including odor, noise, safety and other potential public health concerns.  The agency evaluates applications for solid waste handling permits to ensure compliance with state and Board of Health regulations and to address public health and environmental impacts.  The health department’s review is in addition to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and Pierce County Planning and Land Services reviews. 

 About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department:  Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to safeguard and enhance the health of the communities of Pierce County.  As part of its mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health.  Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

 Edie Jeffers, Communications and Community Relations Manager

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

253.798.2853

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