Logan Smith: An open letter to Santa Clarita Valley

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

A little less than a month ago, I flew to North Dakota to stand with Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline. On Dec. 4, the Army Corp of Engineers denied the easement necessary for Energy Transfer Partners to drill under the Oahe reservoir and complete the pipeline.

This decision represents a significant victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, their thousands of allies camped in North Dakota, and the millions of people who stood up across the United States and around the world on behalf of environmental justice and indigenous rights.

I returned home from Oceti Sakowin not to rest, but to fight. Now our community must stand and demand justice here at home.

The Chiquita Canyon Landfill, operated by Waste Connections Inc., is operating in violation of the conditional use permit issued in 1997 after significant resistance from the residents of Val Verde.

The landfill poses environmental and health risks to adjacent communities, including but not limited to significant and unavoidable deterioration of air quality and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite exceeding the tonnage limit defined in the 1997 conditional use permit, Waste Connections now seeks to significantly expand the Chiquita Canyon site, presenting an even greater threat to residents, workers, and school children in Val Verde, Live Oak, Castaic and even Valencia.

Our community must come together to loudly and clearly demand that Chiquita Canyon ceases operations in agreement with the 1997 permit.

Waste Connections argues the cancer risk posed by the landfill is “less than significant.” I say that if a single person develops cancer attributable to carcinogenic substances being dumped at Chiquita, it is very much significant.

The health of our community is at stake. Los Angeles County and Supervisor Kathryn Barger have a moral obligation to protect citizens from predatory business.

Waste Connections doesn’t need the county’s help finding loopholes and legal tricks; it has plenty of its own lawyers to do that. But the people of Val Verde and Live Oak do not.

I ask everyone to stand with me now in the name of justice for our community. We must oppose the expansion of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill and demand that Waste Connections comply with the original conditional use permit.

We stopped digital billboards. We’ll stop Cemex. Let’s stop this landfill’s illegal expansion.

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Logan Smith: An open letter to Santa Clarita Valley

A bulldozer pushes exposed trash at Chiquita Canyon Landfill in this Signal file photo by Dan Watson.

A little less than a month ago, I flew to North Dakota to stand with Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline. On Dec. 4, the Army Corp of Engineers denied the easement necessary for Energy Transfer Partners to drill under the Oahe reservoir and complete the pipeline.

This decision represents a significant victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, their thousands of allies camped in North Dakota, and the millions of people who stood up across the United States and around the world on behalf of environmental justice and indigenous rights.

I returned home from Oceti Sakowin not to rest, but to fight. Now our community must stand and demand justice here at home.

The Chiquita Canyon Landfill, operated by Waste Connections Inc., is operating in violation of the conditional use permit issued in 1997 after significant resistance from the residents of Val Verde.

The landfill poses environmental and health risks to adjacent communities, including but not limited to significant and unavoidable deterioration of air quality and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite exceeding the tonnage limit defined in the 1997 conditional use permit, Waste Connections now seeks to significantly expand the Chiquita Canyon site, presenting an even greater threat to residents, workers, and school children in Val Verde, Live Oak, Castaic and even Valencia.

Our community must come together to loudly and clearly demand that Chiquita Canyon ceases operations in agreement with the 1997 permit.

Waste Connections argues the cancer risk posed by the landfill is “less than significant.” I say that if a single person develops cancer attributable to carcinogenic substances being dumped at Chiquita, it is very much significant.

The health of our community is at stake. Los Angeles County and Supervisor Kathryn Barger have a moral obligation to protect citizens from predatory business.

Waste Connections doesn’t need the county’s help finding loopholes and legal tricks; it has plenty of its own lawyers to do that. But the people of Val Verde and Live Oak do not.

I ask everyone to stand with me now in the name of justice for our community. We must oppose the expansion of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill and demand that Waste Connections comply with the original conditional use permit.

We stopped digital billboards. We’ll stop Cemex. Let’s stop this landfill’s illegal expansion.

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Signal Contributor

Signal Contributor

  • Ron Bischof

    “The landfill poses environmental and health risks to adjacent communities, including but not limited to significant and unavoidable deterioration of air quality and increased greenhouse gas emissions.”

    “I say that if a single person develops cancer attributable to carcinogenic substances being dumped at Chiquita, it is very much significant.”

    I don’t find your appeal to emotion compelling, Mr. Smith. Please provide a credible and science based objective source to support your assertions.

    • Jim de Bree

      It is hard to conclude what the exact situation is until you have read the expert opinions of both sides. I think the most compelling argument is that the landfill operator clandestinely worked behind the scenes to extend the operating permit. The deal was done before all the stakeholders were aware of the situation.

      As to Mr. Smith’s discussion of the pipeline, the decision made was purely a political one. Without the pipeline, oil will be carried by train which is much more dangerous to the population as trains travel through populated areas.

      • Ron Bischof

        I agree the landfill contract manipulations don’t pass the sniff test and that’s a persuasive argument for a sunlight review, Jim.

        In contrast, political virtue signaling and unsupported science/epidemiological assertions aren’t compelling.

        • Tanya Hauser

          Draft Environmental Impact Report quoted above.

    • Tanya Hauser

      Cancer

      According to the Draft Environmental Impact Report, which I encourage you to read…

      Table 11-13 – Residential Maximally Exposed Individual (MEIR) “…the incremental increase in lifetime cancer risk associated with exposure to combined construction and operations emissions at the location of the MEIR is predicted to be 9.3 in 1 million.” The SCAQMD (South Coast Air Quality Management District) Significance Threshold is 10 in 1 million. The prediction of 9.3 is only .7 from being at the threshold of significance of 10 per the SCAQMD (pp. 11-37 and 11-38).

      Another issue concerning cancer is the cumulative impact of an expansion coupled with other projects:

      11.9 Cumulative Impacts — “The cumulative impact analysis considers the combined air quality impacts of the Proposed Project with the nearby reasonably foreseeable projects…” (p.11-46)

      Table 11-18 – Residential Maximally Exposed Individual (MEIR) and Sensitive Receptor are each 15 in a million. The SCAQMD Significance Threshold is 10 in 1 million. “The proposed additional development in the area would not only increase the emissions of TACs (toxic air contaminant) generated in the area, but would also add new residential, commercial, and sensitive receptors…cumulative projects plus the Proposed Project (CCL expansion) would increase cancer risk by more than the 10 in 1 million threshold for residences, workers, and sensitive receptors near the landfill project site, indicating a significant cumulative impact.” (p. 11-50)

  • Ron Bischof

    An opinion in which scientific assertions are made concomitant with an urging of political action by community members.

    Your point is… what, CC?

  • Ron Bischof

    Thank you for the courtesy of your response, Mr. Smith.

    I consider it best practice to review source documents directly rather than relying on representations made by others. Ms. Hauser has referenced and provided a link to the draft EIR.

    I do have a concern about this assertion of yours:

    “I say that if a single person develops cancer attributable to carcinogenic substances being dumped at Chiquita, it is very much significant.”

    This seems a very aggressive restatement of the Precautionary Principle, a risk/benefit methodology that’s controversial as it shifts the burden of proof to one that infeasibly guarantees the elimination of all risk, i.e. a de facto ban.

    As Jim de Bree stated and I concur, it appears the opposition to the Chiquita Canyon Landfill is on firmer ground in pursuing a revocation of the conditional use permit extension by L.A. County. That seem the proper venue for review of stakeholder interests as well as the EIR scientific findings.