Community Action Needed: The Port of Tacoma holds the lease for Darling Ingredients, and the lease is up for renewal soon. We are waiting for the Port to hold a hearing on the lease renewal. Now is the time for us to come together as a community to voice our concerns and demand safeguards to protect our health, environment, and well-being.
What You Can Do:
- Stay informed: We are gathering information to send a strong message about the potential impact of the Darling Ingredients plant.
- Spread the word: Share this information with your friends, family, and neighbors. We need everyone to be aware and engaged.
- Email the Port Commissioners: Tell them this isn’t the type of company we want in Tacoma. There are companies aligned with our collective vision of the future that could site on the very spot Darling occupies.
- Attend the hearing: When the date is announced, we must be ready to pack the hearing and make our voices heard.
The Message: We want to send a clear message that odor, pollution, dirty wastewater, and industrial fires are no longer acceptable in Tacoma, especially when vulnerable communities are at greater risk due to their proximity to this plant.
The Darling International rendering plant, once a key part of the Aroma of Tacoma, located in the Tacoma Tideflats, is seeking to reopen its doors after a series of troubling incidents shut it down last year.
Background: In April 2019, a leak in the plant’s odor abatement system unleashed a putrid smell on Tacoma residents, permeating the air for days. Subsequently, in September 2022, a large fire broke out at the Tacoma plant due to rendering equipment igniting organic materials. Since then, the facility has remained closed, but they recently indicated an intention to reopen.
Community Impact: The communities living closest to this plant already face some of the highest health inequities in the city and state. Furthermore, the facility is less than one mile from the Northwest Detention Center, where detained immigrants have long spoken out against poor air quality conditions. Odors from rendering facilities can lead to nausea, headaches, shortness of breath, alterations of mood, and other symptoms, aggravating conditions such as asthma.
Environmental Concerns: Aside from air quality issues, Darling Ingredients has a history of environmental violations, including fines for violating wastewater permits and contaminating soil and groundwater with petroleum products. The facility is dangerously close to the Puyallup River and the Gog-le-hi-te Wetland System, a critical salmon habitat restoration site.
Safety Risks: Since the Tacoma fire last year, at least three additional Darling Ingredients facilities have caught fire across the U.S., resulting in a worker fatality. Major Occupational Safety and Health violations have occurred at Darling-owned facilities nationwide, including multiple OSHA violations at the Tacoma facility.
What We Do
As the only environmental organization with a patrol vessel in the South Sound, Communities for a Healthy Bay has a unique ability to quickly identify and tackle pollution that would otherwise go unnoticed or unchecked. Bay Patrol is supported by contracts with the City of Tacoma and works closely with the Department of Ecology, the United States Coast Guard, and other state & local agencies.
The very core of our work is mobilizing the community to push for the effective cleanup of toxic contamination in and around Commencement Bay. While there is no doubt the bay is cleaner today than ever before, there is still much work to be done.
Climate change isn’t just a fact, it’s the reality we are facing today. To stop it, we need to drastically reduce the amount of pollution we create. That’s why we’re working to place a temporary freeze on future fossil fuel facilities and expansions in the Tacoma Tideflats.
To achieve a cleaner future, we’re working closely with local classrooms to empower the next generation of environmental stewards through youth education efforts like our Student Stewards Conservation Program.
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