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Pacific Biodiesel closes Maui plant after 18-year run

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Pacific Biodiesel has closed its central Maui production plant that was the nation’s longest continually operating commercial biofuel processing facility, the company announced Friday.

The plant, built in 1996, was widely recognized as a pioneer in the United States’ biodiesel industry.

The used cooking oil that used to go the Puunene facility will be shipped to Hawaii island where it will be processed at Pacific Biodiesel’s new state-of-the-art biodiesel refinery in Keeau.

Pacific Biodiesel President Bob King said the company decided to close the Maui facility after being notified in December by the Maui County Department of Environmental Management that continuing operations there would require multiple permits and extensive upgrades to comply with new county requirements.

“With just over two years left on our contract we couldn’t justify the costly site improvements that were required to meet the county’s demands,” King said.

The company will continue its full range of pumping and collection services on Maui and Lanai, he said. Distribution of the company’s biodiesel will continue statewide, King added.

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