Community Alert

December 20, 2023

Darling Ingredients is trying to reopen its animal rendering facility in the Port of Tacoma. This is the same facility that engulfed Tacoma in a putrid odor for days in 2019 and was closed by a large fire in 2022.

The Port of Tacoma has the opportunity to deny Darling’s lease, so now is the time to come together to voice your concerns and opposition to animal rendering operations near our communities!

If Darling is allowed to reopen, it will adversely impact the health and quality of life of thousands of Tacomans. Help us send the message that releasing putrid smells, water pollution, and industrial fires will no longer be tolerated in Tacoma!

Animal rendering facilities cook down animal carcasses and slaughterhouse by-products to make many different products including animal food, fertilizer, collagen products, and pharmaceuticals.

In September 2022, the Darling Ingredients’ animal rendering plant in the Port of Tacoma caught fire after equipment ignited organic material. After being closed for over a year due to the damage, they now plan to rebuild and reopen.

Darling has been the subject of community odor complaints for years. When their odor control system failed in April 2019, Tacoma was engulfed in a putrid stench for days. Although odor emissions are typically classified as nuisances rather than health risks, prolonged exposure can lead to nausea, headaches, mood alterations, and even aggravate conditions like asthma. The plant would also operate natural gas burning boilers that release harmful air pollutants like nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Tacoma already has some of the worst health disparities in the state, and the additional burden of persistent noxious odors represents a significant environmental justice issue. This plant is also less than a mile away from the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), where community activists from La Resistencia have been amplifying the concerns of detained immigrants about poor air quality.

This particular facility was also fined by the City of Tacoma for violating its wastewater permit and had several Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) violations. While the plant sits 0.3 miles from the Puyallup River and just 500 feet from the Gog-le-hi-te salmon habitat restoration site, some groups still have concerns about petroleum pollution on this site. Worker safety concerns extend beyond the Tacoma plant, with some Darling employees tragically losing their lives in explosions and after being trapped in an industrial cooker. Since the fire in 2022, there have been at least 3 additional fires at Darling facilities across the country.

What You Can Do:

  • Send your own letter or visit our letter campaign and click “START WRITING” >> to personalize our letter template to Port Commissioners.
  • 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.
  • Attend the hearing: When the date is announced, we must be ready to pack the hearing and make our voices heard.