PDF of Letter
CITIZENS FOR CHIQUITA CANYON LANDFILL COMPLIANCE
S C O P E
Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment
TO PROMOTE, PROTECT AND PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT, ECOLOGY AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE SANTA CLARITA VALLEY
POST OFFICE BOX 1182, SANTA CLARITA, CA 91386
AND on behalf of individual members of the Val Verde and Santa Clarita Communities
August 4, 2016
Attention Supervisor Michael Antonovich Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration 500 West Temple St. Ste 383
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Subject: Violation of Conditional Use Permit No. 89-081(5), Chiquita Canyon Landfill
Dear Supervisor Antonovich:
Chiquita Canyon Landfill is located on Highway 126 immediately adjacent to the historic community of Val Verde. In a contractual agreement made with the residents of this community in 1997, the landfill operators promised this low-income, majority Latino community1 that the 1997 landfill expansion would be the last and that the landfill would be closed in 2019 or when the disposed tonnage reached 23 million tons2.
Section 46 of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill Conditional Use Permit (CUP) of 1997 states: “The maximum total capacity of the landfill shall be 23 million tons. Landfill closure shall occur when this capacity is reached or on November 24, 2019, whichever occurs first.”
During the month of June, this year, the landfill had reached a capacity of 23,042,298.89 tons which exceeds the CUP. We are told by those present at the Val Verde Community Advisory Committee meeting on July 26, 2016, that they were informed by the landfill representative that the landfill has no plans to close. This statement was made after landfill representatives were confronted by residents with documentation that the Chiquita Canyon Landfill has exceeded the capacity permitted in their CUP.
Odors and fugitive landfill gases such as methane already impact Val Verde residents, possibly causing some to suffer from headaches and nausea on a regular basis. Failure to enforce the CUP requirements has allowed these negative air quality impacts to continue to impact both Val Verde and the entire Santa Clarita Valley.
As residents of Los Angeles County and the Santa Clarita Valley, we are formally asking that the County of Los Angeles take the necessary steps to enforce the CUP by closing Chiquita Canyon Landfill, based on section 46 and the operator’s outright disregard for the CUP.
1 2010 Census – 55.2% of the nearby residents speak Spanish at home
2 The Agreement can be accessed at: http://c4cclc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/StatementofAgreements.pdf
We also would like an explanation as to why the County itself has not commenced closure plans for this landfill, since the County was well aware that the landfill was quickly approaching its maximum permitted tonnage. Who at the County is responsible for monitoring capacity totals? Why wasn’t this information brought to the public, the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Department by County staff? Why is this Spanish-speaking community of Val Verde not being safeguarded by County oversight and enforcement in the same manner expected by other communities throughout Los Angeles County?
Last, we believe that continued operation of this landfill violates section 22.04.110 – “Application where violation exists”, which states:
“No application required pursuant to this title shall be accepted for processing or approved where an existing land use, not previously authorized by any statute or ordinance, is being maintained or operated in violation of any applicable provision of this title, or any condition of approval of a land use permit. This provision applies to the operation of land uses only…”
We believe that any grant of an emergency permit is unwarranted due to the fact that both the County and the Landfill appear to have knowingly allowed the violation of Section 46 to continue by not taking steps to initiate a closure plan and willfully maintaining that they had no intention of closing the landfill. We understand that the County receives substantial tipping fees from this landfill which may create an incentive for the County to violate its own ordinance. Please explain how the County intends to address this situation in a fair and unbiased manner.
We look forward to your responses to these questions and this urgent situation. Sincerely,
Member of Citizens for Chiquita Canyon Landfill Compliance 661.670.8327
President, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment 661 255-6899
Cc: All County Supervisors
Landfill Oversight Agencies:
Sam Ungar, Regional Water Quality Board
Jeff Hackett, CalRecycle
Gerardo Villalobos, L County Dept of Public Health Andrew Lee, AQMD