Before you all go off writing and calling with your comments on the biodiesel project, be sure that you check your facts, perhaps with the city manager, to make sure you are making correct statements. Do not rely on Internet chatter for your information.
I brought this idea to the city believing that it had merit and that if it were to succeed, it would be a micro-generator of both fuel and electrical power for the city, and a retail generator of local income. That projected potential benefit to air quality, energy bills, and local sales was my sole objective, with the added benefit of bringing a good number of green-minded souls to spend money on more than just fuel when they came to Pacifica. I had been accused of always saying "no" to projects (untrue in itself) and I wanted to come up with an idea that was green AND made money because I love my city and wanted to find one, small creative solution.
This project has gotten an enormous amount of detailed oversight and the engineered plans have been gone over in minute detail by the fire safety folks, and the thing is spill-contained beyond belief. I would never have considered this a reasonable idea if it were not for the fact that the site had been permitted for the chemicals in question and designed to avoid but still contain possible spills.
I understand that some honestly did not support the idea, feeling that risk outweighed benefit. Fair enough. Do what you gotta do. Based on everything I could find to assess the proposal, I was of the opinion, one shared by fire safety personnel, that the risks could be handled in a way that made them minimal, the benefits far outweighing the problems. Again, some disagreed, but some concerns were unsupportable hysteria, misrepresented and blown way out of proportion
There are those who want to see it fail because Jim Vreeland and I had anything to do with it. Old political divides die hard, sadly, and I think it would not matter to these folks WHAT my name was attached to or this council approved; they would still disembowel it. That is unfair but predictable. At a certain point I decided that the city and Whole Energy Fuels had a lease and a relationship and that they were responsible for moving forward, and I took a step back because I am not an engineer or a safety specialist or a lawyer, and these are the people whose hands it is in now. There is a time you let go of a project that you initiate because it either sinks or swims on its own merit and its own viability. I still think that it has merit, but from the beginning I knew that it would be (and wanted it to be) gone over in detail for safety and viability.
I would be sad to see it not happen after getting it to this point, and I wish that those denigrating it would actually look at and understand how it works and the calculations as to how much carbon it keeps out of the atmosphere. With Obama looking for shovel-ready green infrastructure projects, it would be ironic for this one to not to proceed. As for the plant design, I trust the fire safety and hazmat people who reviewed designs and will be doing at least 10 different inspections. I've seen no premeditated, nefarious schemes being hatched, but if anything was done out of order, it will be revealed and corrected or it will not go forward. Maybe the whole thing will "go away" as some would prefer. That would be a shame and a waste.
What seems to never go away is the nastiness and the inhumane way that we talk to our opponents. Some assume so much about my motivations and character that is based on a cartoon version of reality and just incorrect. This is not about personalities. It's on city land, and those whose hands now steer the project—that includes the city manager and city attorney as well as the council and a host of inspectors and regulators—will make it work or they will not. I strongly support all oversight.
There is nothing I can say that will ever convince certain people that I am not some witch trying to put a spell on the council so that I can have my own personal gas station. Seeing that in print makes me realize just how insane it is! There is only one body controlling the city and that is the voting public. They voted for a council that understood the town's overarching values, and to the best of their abilities they are trying to introduce energy-generating projects with an eye on the future.