With the promise of clean, renewable energy as their battle-cry, entrepreneurs are planning to build as many as 10 biodiesel plants in Eastern Washington. But there’s a problem: One biodiesel refinery already built, near Spokane, is anything but clean. The state says the refinery emits toxic vapors into the air and spills oil into the ground, according to the Seattle Times. The refinery also allegedly creates troublesome wastewater.
Biodiesel holds promise as a renewable, crop-based substitute for conventional diesel fuel. It’s made from vegetable oil mixed with methanol and, often, lye. The U.S. Department of Energy says that biodiesel is “safe, biodegradable, and reduces serious air pollutants such as particulates, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and air toxics.”
Better than Arab oil, yes?
But there just had to be a catch, didn’t there? Even if it’s a little one? Polluting refineries might just be that catch.