By Steve Scauzillo, SGVN
Posted: 09/20/2012 07:50:56 PM PDT
Supervisor Don Knabe, who has expressed strong opposition to a San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments motion to extend the operation of the Puente Hills Landfill for five more years, is asking the full Board of Supervisors to support him.
Knabe’s motion to support the scheduled closure of the county Sanitation District’s main landfill in October 2013, will go before the Board on Tuesday.
Several members of the Hacienda Heights Improvement Association said they were cautiously optimistic Knabe’s motion will be supported by a majority of the Board of Supervisors. However, they plan on attending the meeting in downtown Los Angeles to make sure they do.
Barbara Messina, president of the SGVCOG, said Thursday that the item on the joint-powers authority’s agenda would be pulled. She advised those waiting to speak to come back next month.
“I think this item needs discussion, which we haven’t had as a board. I apologize to those that came out this evening if you were here to speak on this item, ” Messina said.
The COG’s Solid Waste Advisory Group had recommended the COG board send a letter to all five county supervisors, asking them to support moving the closure date from Oct. 31, 2013 to Oct. 31, 2018. An accompanying memo by COG Interim Executive Director Fran DeLach said the committee was concerned about loss of jobs at the landfill and the effect closure will have on trash hauling rates in their cities.
In his motion, Knabe said the people of Hacienda
Heights have lived with the landfill for more than 50 years. He said the landfill — the largest in the nation — had considered closing it in 1983, 1993 and 2003 but each time, extended its conditional use permit 10 years. In 2003, the county and the Sanitation Districts said it would be the last time.
“To go back now and ask for yet more time would be completely disingenuous and unfair to the community,” read Knabe’s motion before the full board. “We must keep the promise that this County made. The Board should send a strong message that we stand by our word and move forward with a fair and equitable solution to managing the region’s solid waste,” he wrote in the motion.
Jeff Yann, a member of the Hacienda Heights group and a former engineer who worked on disposal alternatives for Southern California Edison, said Thursday it was ironic that the COG was one of the first groups back in the early 1990s to recommend alternatives.
“This group was at the forefront of developing landfill alternatives. They are turning their tails,” he said in the lobby during a break in the COG meeting.
Mike Williams, an HHIA member and a one-time member of COG, said the county and the cities have known about the eventual closure for 30 years. Putting off decisions to bury the waste in other landfills, and eventually to ship it by rail to a landfill 250 miles away in the desert, is not constructive.
“This (COG) proposal simply kicks the can down the road for another five years. Isn’t this the kind of leadership that has plagued California in the past and continues today?” he said.