Neighbors Want Rendering Plant Out

August 20, 2008 2:14:59 PM PDT
Darling International has been operating in West Fresno for more than 52 years. But only recently did the city of Fresno realize that the rendering plant had been operating without a conditional use permit.Now, a group of residents from West Fresno wants the city to shut the plant down and move it somewhere else.

Mary Curry with Concerned Citizens of West Fresno said, "The city is complicit in this they've allowed some things that should not have been. I would like to see them find a suitable site and relocate." She and other plant neighbors complained to council about exposed animal carcasses, their body fluids leaking from trucks, and the overpowering stench that comes from the plant.

But Darling's C.E.O. Randy Stuewe said the awful smell isn't coming from his plant. "There is no odor in the air from that plant. Darling International has addressed every issue raised by this group."

Stuewe told me his company made $10 million dollars worth of improvements to satisfy neighbors concerns, including state-of- the-art odor mitigating equipment. He said moving the plant would cost about $40 million dollars and 4,000 jobs. But neighbors disagree.

Robert Mitchell said, "They will not lose jobs by relocating, let's get that clear. And we still smell this. When you sit at your dinner table and you're trying to eat your dinner and this foul odor emanates into your bedroom and your living room, you're suffering badly."

Curry also told council, "Just replace yourself where we are. Would I like to inhale this on my days when I can't open my windows to get fresh air? We believe even poor people are entitled to breathe fresh air," a comment that drew applause from other West Fresno residents.

Tuesday evening the Fresno city council decided to take no action until it gets more information about the plant's intentions.

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