Chesapeake Biodiesel Mega-plant to go to Commissioners’ Vote

John Davis

A proposed $532-million, 320-million-gallon biodiesel refinery… one of the world’s largest… is up for a vote before the Chesapeake, Virginia Planning Commission tonight to decide if the project will move forward.

But this story in the Virginian-Pilot says even if the commission approves the plan, there are issues over the developer securing the land:

Smiling Earth EnergyDeveloper Smiling Earth Energy LLC and landowner David Peck continue to have different takes on the status of the deal. Peck has said the company defaulted on its purchase agreement after missing two key payments and that the property, in the city’s South Norfolk section, is back on the market.

Smiling Earth Principal Clifford M. Cowles said Tuesday everything is going smoothly and that the firm expects to close on the land later this month.

The differences will not interfere with tonight’s advisory vote, city planners said. Next, the matter would go to the Chesapeake City Council, which could make a final decision next month.

An ethanol plant planned just across the river from this biodiesel plant ran into a series of protests and problems that have put the brakes on the ethanol refinery. But the biodiesel plant seems to be only facing some fire safety rules.