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  • Next Renewable Fuels Inc.

More than 7,000 comments, letters support clean fuels project in Oregon

More than 7,000 public comments and letters were submitted to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality urging the agency to approve the air permit for Next Renewable Fuels. Comments revealed a groundswell of support for Next and its proposal to build a renewable diesel production facility at Port Westward.

In its draft permit, ODEQ stated “Next Renewable Fuels Oregon LLC is not a major source of EPA-listed hazardous air pollutants” and “DEQ has concluded the potential emissions meet health-risk standards for the community and do not require additional controls to be protective of public health.”

In 2021, ODEQ adopted the Climate Protection Plan, which clearly calls out renewable diesel as a beneficial and necessary green alternative fuel to replace petroleum diesel. Renewable diesel is 60 to 80 times cleaner than petroleum diesel and will drastically decrease particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide in the air. Communities throughout Oregon will benefit from decreased toxic emissions, especially vulnerable communities adjacent to transportation corridors.

“A green fuels project like this is a clear win for Oregonians and workers at all levels who want to be part of the climate-change solution,” said Paul Philpott, a local union carpenter who rallied hundreds of Columbia County residents to voice their support. “Using renewable diesel in things like construction equipment would be a quantifiable improvement for the health of workers who spend their careers around diesel equipment.”

Supporters span across diverse backgrounds—elected officials, environmentalists, union members, community leaders, environmental-justice advocates, agency directors and business owners. Their comments and letters of support about the project highlight the minimal environmental footprint and the transformative opportunity to combat the climate crisis, specifically the important role renewable diesel can play in reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

“The time for climate action is now, and the tsunami of support is a clear proof point that Oregonians are ready to be on the forefront of a green energy future,” said Chris Efird, chief information officer and chairperson of Next Renewable Fuels.

The ODEQ air permit is the last state-permitting hurdle for the project. Next has already received all county land-use approvals and its Oregon Department of State Lands Removal Fill permit. Next’s proposal is currently under federal environmental review as it advances toward full project approval.



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