Biodiesel Talking Points & Links

Write to Pullman City decision-makers (Mayor, Councilmembers, City Administrator) at every step of the rezoning proposal process. Email addresses below.

Download Talking Points PDF here.

Choose points for inspiration, or copy-and-paste into your email or letter.

Rezoning from Residential to Industrial Research Park is the wrong choice.

  • Rezoning the Sunnyside land to Industrial Research Park is incompatible with Pullman’s Comprehensive Plan.
  • The biodiesel refinery is incompatible with Industrial Research Park zoning.
  • Rezoning removes the possibility of homes on this land, when Pullman’s housing market is tight.
  • If the land is rezoned and AgTech OS fails, then the door is open for many industrial uses.

Rezoning to Industrial Research Park will reduce the quality of life for Sunnyside neighborhoods.

  • The refinery would be too close to residential areas and a school zone.
  • Noise, light pollution, smell, air pollution, and increased traffic could impact neighbors.
  • Property values for Sunnyside homes would decline.

Putting Whitman County tax dollars into a high-risk private startup is reckless.

  • AgTech OS is an unproven startup. 90% of startups fail. Few ever achieve funding to become operational.
  • Taxpayers should not be unwitting sponsors of a private adventure, via county taxes.

Agtech OS doesn’t appear to have a viable business model.

  • AgTech OS would compete for canola with the nearby Viterra crushing plant in Warden, WA.
  • There isn’t enough canola grown regionally to support both the Viterra and AgTech OS facilities.
  • Due to many challenges, the biodiesel industry cannot survive without massive subsidies.
  • A core challenge is trivial energy return compared to high material inputs, making profitability difficult.

Don’t be fooled by AgTech OS’s greenwashing.

  • AgTech OS admits its first-year water use will be much higher, but won’t say how much higher.
  • Biodiesel does almost nothing to mitigate climate change, due to a very low Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROEI).
  • Using canola for liquid fuel production competes directly with food production, inflating food prices.


City of Pullman. "Comprehensive Plan: Charting Our Course to Continued Success," September 2021, 

Williams, Elaine. "Home prices are through the roof," Lewiston Morning Tribune, March 6, 2022, 

“Only 20-30% of seeded companies go to series-A. Thereafter, follow-on rate is about 50% for each stage,”,

Hall, Charles. “Introduction to Special Issue on New Studies in EROI (Energy Return on Investment),” Sustainability, 2011, 3(10), 1773-1777,

Firrisa, Melese Tesfaye, et al. “Energy efficiency for rapeseed biodiesel production in different farming systems,” Energy Efficiency, 7:79-95, 2014,

Smith, Elwin. "Energy balances of biodiesel production from soybean and canola in Canada," Canadian Journal of Plant Science, October 2007,

Irwin, S. "2021 Was a Devastating Year for Biodiesel Production Profits." farmdoc daily (12):21, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, February 16, 2022,

Sickinger, Ted. “Never-opened $300 million-plus biofuels refinery facing foreclosure in southern Oregon,” The Oregonian, January 7, 2023,

Hammang, Annie. “The Hottest Biofuels Companies of 20 Years Ago Are Now Doing Something Completely Different,” Slate, January 11, 2022,

DeCicco, John. "The US biofuel mandate operates on outdated assumptions," Greenbiz, May 5, 2022, 

"Fuel or food? Study sees increasing competition for land, water resources," Science News, source: University of Virginia, March 3, 2016,,the%20Nature%20journal%20Scientific%20Reports.

Pratt, Sean. “Price connection strengthens between canola, crude oil,” The Western Producer, June 2, 2022,



1st Stage, Environmental Review - RJ Lott: RJ.Lott @  

2nd Stage, Planning Review

3rd Stage, City Council vote

At each stage of the process, email opposition to the Mayor, the City Administrator, and ALL Councilmembers:

Mayor Glenn Johnson: Glenn.johnson @

City Administrator Mike Urban: Mike.urban @


Francis Benjamin: Francis.benjamin @

Becky Dueben: Becky.dueben @

Megan Guido: Megan.guido @

Eileen Macoll: Eileen.macoll @

Ann Parks: Ann.parks @

Nathan Weller: Nathan.weller @

Pat Wright: Pat.wright @ 




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