SAN DIEGO — Residents along Newton Avenue in the Barrio Logan neighborhood say they’re literally sick of the foul odor coming from a biodiesel plant.
“The last five or six years it’s getting worse and worse. It’s definitely not getting any better,” resident Peter Colon told FOX 5 Thursday. “I got sick a couple times. I was getting dizzy and coughing.”
The facility belongs to New Leaf Biofuel. The company says they take used cooking oil from restaurants, bring that oil to the plant in Barrio Logan, then turn it into high-quality biodiesel fuel which takes the place of petroleum diesel, reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.
But residents say New Leaf has ruined their air quality. Folks at the Barrio Senior Villas say they’ve gotten sick with headaches, sore throats and itchy eyes.
“They just feel like they can’t breathe; the air is not good. We’d like to be able to have the air coming through, not having to close our windows and doors,” resident Gloria Robledo told FOX 5.
Residents and the Environmental Health Coalition are pushing for action, demanding improvements.
The Air Pollution Control District told FOX 5 it is investigating.
Meanwhile, New Leaf Biofuel is expanding. The company declined a request for an interview, but President and CEO Jennifer Case released a statement, saying:
“We pride ourselves on being good neighbors in Barrio Logan. It’s been our home for more than 15 years to produce safe and environmentally-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels without incident. We empathize with the concerns local residents have recently expressed and are working with local regulators to address them as quickly as possible.”