Biofuel can be a great way of providing renewable energy from sustainable sources, with plants, algae, or animal waste among the sources from which the fuel can be derived.
However, according to The Dallas Morning News, one plant in Dallas has been forced to close down due to possible zoning violations.
The Envirotein factory in the southwest of the city has been rendering animal fat into biofuel after beginning operations in 2020.
It was approved by the city to run based on the premise it was functioning in the “Industrial Research District,” but the company’s work was deemed to have been miscategorized, instead needing to be located in the “Industrial Manufacturing District.”
Because of the error, District 3 City Council member Zarin Gracey told the Morning News that the facility will be shut down, although this hasn’t been confirmed by Envirotein operational manager Shuhdy Shazaly.
While this might sound like a blow to renewable energy production, local residents find the potential shutdown to be a huge relief.
Members of the surrounding community have long been calling for action to stop the factory from operating, with complaints regarding the smell and the pollution of waterways from boiler discharge.
“Just awful,” long-time resident Brandy Mendoza told the Morning News of the smell. “We thought it was the neighbors creating the bad smell, until one day, I asked around and everyone was getting the same disgusting odor.”
Locals have said the smell of dead and rotting animals was making the area unbearable to live in. One resident told the publication that they had to choose between opening a window in the summer heat to cool down with a window unit or leaving it closed to prevent the odor from entering their home.
While the shutdown is due to zoning rather than the resident’s complaints about the odor, it’s something the community won’t have to worry about for the time being.
“We can’t believe it, that means we won,” Rosa Donohoe said, per the Morning News. “We can’t wait to eat a big carne asada in our backyards, and finally, the kids are going to be able to play soccer.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, biofuel can be used as a petroleum substitute in existing refineries, tanks, pipelines, pumps, vehicles, and smaller engines. While an alternative to dirty fuel is certainly welcome, the production of it shouldn’t place local residents in such an uncomfortable situation.
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