Biofuels plant proposal raising concerns for residents in Sumner County


Residents expressed concern Wednesday night over a proposal to build a biofuel plant in Sumner County.

A Michigan company is hoping to build a plant near Belle Plaine that would convert wheat straw into renewable gas. 

The company says the plant could add 100 jobs to the community. But many residents are not on board. The plant was the topic of discussion at the Sumner County Commission meeting Wednesday with residents who live near where the plant would be built saying they are concerned. 

“I don’t like it. I mean, who would? It’s going to be an eyesore,” said Lacey Grunden, Peck resident.

One sign against the plant is a popular one in Sumner County near 110th Avenue and Meridian Road. It’s right near a house just 1,000 feet away from the site of a proposed renewable natural gas plant where you currently only see farmland.

“They’re going to propose taking wheat straw and changing it into clean natural gas and piping it into a pipeline that’s already on the property,” said Jon Bristor, Planning, Zoning and Environmental Health Director of Sumner County.

“We just left the city to get away from everything that that plant will be bringing and here it is on our doorstep again,” said Alyssa Lancaster, Peck resident.

Aside from bringing an industrial feel to the area, some residents are also worried about the traffic.

“It’s scary to think that there’s going to be as many trucks as they say coming down these roads and at the same time, the kids that are going to be on the buses and it’s a narrow dirt road,” said Lacey Grunden, Peck resident.

But the company behind the project, Verbio, says in their proposal that they are doing a traffic impact study under the KDOT to determine required road improvements.

Another main concern is the impacts on the Ninnescah River, since the company says it will use an average of 50 million gallons of water a year in the first phase. 

“We are going through a process of Kansas Water Resources Division to file for a new water permit this week or next week,” said Greg Northrup, President of VNA Corp. “We’ll drill test wells on the site to help us start to determine if the groundwater well capabilities too supply the site.”

The residents KSN spoke with said they are not against renewable natural gas. They just don’t want it near their land and would like to see it in a more industrial area.

The county planning commission delayed the rezoning and conditional use permits votes during the meeting Wednesday.

They will revisit the issue on September 26.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Download the KSN News App and stay up-to-date wherever you are. You can even watch KSN News live for free!
Click here to get the app
Get it in the App store
Get it in the Google Play store

KSN Storm Track 3 Weather

Trending Stories