Biodiesel Plant Builders Offer to Renovate Neighborhood

John Davis

The developers of what will be the biggest biodiesel plant in the U.S. have offered to give $5 million to renovate the neighborhood located near the plant.

Smiling Earth EnergySmiling Earth Energy has offered the money to help the Chesapeake, Virginia neighborhood of South Hill, which has been cut off from the rest of the city since Interstate 464 bisected the area in 1987. This story in the Virginian-Pilot says the offer is impressing city leaders still deciding the whether to give the project to build a 320-million-gallon-a-year biodiesel plant the green light:

Smiling Earth promised to limit traffic at the plant to three trucks a day, although it hasn’t conducted a traffic study. The company also promised to set up a citizens advisory committee.

But the offer of as much as $5 million, which came the day of the vote, resonated with council members on a whole new level. Councilwoman Ella Ward called it “exciting.”

The council decided to wait until October to vote on the plan, but Hayes thinks at least five council members support the project. Three members who have voiced support – Hayes, Ward and Councilman Bryan Collins – say their desire to help South Hill residents has influenced them.

Cleaning up the environment and rebuilding neighborhoods… that seems to be the biodiesel way.