The Environmental Justice Law & Advocacy Lab today released its report on a Bay Area animal rendering plant operated by Darling International Ingredients, Inc. (Darling). In 2021, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice (Greenaction) reached out to the EJ Law and Advocacy Lab regarding “gut pinching” smells from the Darling rendering plant.  Located in the Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP) community in Southeast San Francisco, the plant has been operated by Darling for over 50 years.  It processes dead animal carcasses and grease from local restaurant traps and turns them into usable materials. Unfortunately, the Darling plant has also blanketed the surrounding BVHP neighborhood with “nauseating fumes” for years.  Because BVHP is a community already overburdened by many other environmental hazards, Darling’s regulatory compliance status has thus been of significant concern, prompting the EJ Law and Advocacy Lab to investigate.
Today’s release of our report, “The Stench of ‘Sustainability'”, provides an overview of the pollution sources in the BVHP community—a low-income and racially diverse community in San Francisco. The report explains how BVHP has been historically inundated with pollution sources and “acted as a toxic dumping ground for the city of San Francisco.” The report’s conclusions draw on public documents obtained from three of ten agencies that regulate Darling’s operations. The report outlines these conclusions and provides recommendations for reducing the effects of Darling’s operations on the community. Finally, the report’s conclusions raise the question of whether BVHP, “a low-income neighborhood, made up of large communities of Black, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, and Latinx residents, should bear the brunt of the effects of the plant” that the city touts as environmentally “sustainable.”
Below, you can read the full report in addition to a reflection written by a student involved with drafting the report. Special thanks to Zsea Bowmani ’14 and Elias Rodriguez ’21 who authored the report, Professor Tseming Yang for overseeing the research and report, SCU tUrn interns Emily Pachoud, Hannah Trillo, and Grace Yonkers-Talz for their research and editing, and the SCU Environmental Justice and Common Good Initiative for otherwise supporting the work.
SCU tUrn INTERN COMMENT (by Emily Pachoud)
As a recent resident of the Bay Area, I became aware a few years back of the environmental injustices in Bayview Hunters Point. This community, whose residents are mostly people of color, is disproportionately inundated with pollution sources that have led to harmful health impacts, and this is environmental racism. The Darling rendering plant contributes to this massive amount of pollution burdening the BVHP community, and I was glad to be able to go beyond attending rallies to support this community. Through helping with editing and citations, I learned a lot about this plant and the harmful impacts it has, and I became especially passionate about this issue. It is ridiculous that anyone would try to claim that a plant like the Darling rendering plant is a win for sustainability. I am proud to have helped with such an important report. Research and reports like this one provide back up to a community’s cries for environmental justice to a government that tries to ignore issues facing low-income communities of color.