PRESS RELEASE EMBARGOED UNTIL 8-4-16
PRESS CONFERENCE to be held at 11 AM, AUGUST 4TH, LOCATION: Local Office of Supervisor
Michael Antonovich, 27441 Tourney Road, Santa Clarita, 91355
Groups to Demand Landfill Closure Due to Exceedance of Permitted Tonnage
This Thursday, August 4th several groups and individuals will deliver a letter to the Offices of Supervisor Michael Antonovich asking that the County of Los Angeles, as the Local Enforcement Agency, close Chiquita Canyon Landfill (CCL) due to recent evidence that it has exceeded its permitted fill tonnage and has been operating outside its permitted capacity limit since June of this year.
Citizens for Chiquita Canyon Landfill Compliance (C4CCLC), Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE) and individual residents of Val Verde are joining forces with other community leaders to demand that the County of Los Angeles enforce its own Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and close the landfill as required. We will also be asking for an explanation as to why the County has not commenced closure plans for this landfill, even though the County is well aware that it was quickly approaching its maximum permitted tonnage. We will also be asking why the Spanish-speaking community of Val Verde is not being safeguarded by County oversight and enforcement in the same manner expected by other communities throughout Los Angeles County.
Because of its close proximity to the Santa Clarita Valley, there is a misconception that the refuse at CCL originates primarily locally, when in fact only a small percentage of the garbage originates in Santa Clarita1. The majority of the waste is trucked in from various locations such as: Burbank, Inglewood, Redondo Beach, Beverly Hills, El Segundo, San Fernando Valley, LAX, Ventura County etc. It is time for the County to ask these communities to send their trash elsewhere.2
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.
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 community3 that the 1997 landfill expansion would be the last and that
1 The percentage of landfill waste originating from the SCV varies from year to year, ranging from approximately 10%, to under 20%.
2 See California Dept of Resources Recycling report, spreadsheet reproduced here: http://www.scvhistory.com/wp- content/uploads/page/12036/ChiquitaSourceReport2013.pdf
3 2010 Census – 55.2% of the nearby residents speak Spanish at home
the landfill would be closed in 2019 or when the disposed tonnage reached 23 million tons4. The conditional use permit under which the landfill now operates, clearly states5:
However, instead of requiring a closure permit, the County agreed to accept a new proposal for expansion which is currently under review. If granted, this new permit would instead make this landfill one of the largest in the nation, tripling truck traffic and adding to unresolved odor violations and local air pollution. It would also violate the 1997 Agreement made with this low income community.
Unjust Process Continues?
The Landfill is immediately adjacent to the historical community of Val Verde, a small rural neighborhood now comprised of a majority of Spanish- speaking residents and other minorities, making this issue a matter of environmental justice.
During the planning process for a new expansion, no hearing or other notices were provided in Spanish, even though this is the majority language of the community. On June 8th of last year several groups and individuals sent a Section 11135 civil rights complaint to counsels for CAL EPA, CalRecycle, the California Air Board, the Office of the Attorney General and the County of Los Angeles in an effort to ensure the inclusion of all community members in the planning process surrounding the Chiquita Canyon Landfill expansion proposal. The complaint asked, among other things, that all public meetings regarding the landfill be noticed, not just in English, but also in Spanish, the language spoken by the majority of the residents. That complaint remains unresolved.
Now the County appears to once again be discriminating against the community of Val Verde by failing to track and enforce its own CUP requirements and honor the community agreement.
Val Verde resident Noe Rico said, “Let’s think about the horrible impact this will have on our generation and all future generations. My wife and I have a new baby and a 4-year-old in a home we love. Expanding the landfill will bring a plethora of health concerns. The County knew people were already sick from the landfill. It needs to be shutdown so we can be sure our kids grow in a healthy and safe environment. The County needs to be standing up for us…not throwing us in the garbage pile.”
Steve Lee, speaking for Citizens for Chiquita Canyon Landfill Compliance added, “Residents are furious at the County’s and Waste Connection’s blatant disregard of the 1997 Conditional Use Permit and the agreement created during the last Chiquita Canyon Landfill expansion. The County should be held accountable for exploiting the low- income minority community of Val Verde.”
“This community and the entire Santa Clarita Valley deserve the safeguards that are supposed to be afforded to all residents by County oversight processes. Why aren’t tonnage limits for this landfill being monitoring and regulations enforced as they would be in other communities through Los Angeles County?” said Lynne Plambeck, SCOPE president.
Steve Lee, Member of Citizens for Chiquita Canyon Landfill Compliance 661.670.8327
Lynne Plambeck, President, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment 661 255-6899
4 The Agreement can be accessed at: http://c4cclc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/StatementofAgreements.pdf
5 This Condition is found in both the 1997 expansion approval and the most recent CUP granted for energy production in 2011 – see: http://www.c4cclc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/CUP-89081_approval_Full.pdf
letter- CUP Enforcement Press Release – CUP Enforcement
RELATED Draft Letter To send in to the County demanding the landfill closure