Supporters in bright green and opponents in various shades of red attended a meeting at Rancho Pico Junior High on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 to voice their support or concerns about the proposed expansion at the Chiquita Canyon landfill for county commissioners who will decide on the fate of the project. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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About 400 people gathered to trash talk on Wednesday night.

Or rather, talk about trash.

The Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission is reviewing Chiquita Canyon Landfill’s request to double its size, and citizens across the Santa Clarita Valley gathered at Rancho Pico Jr. High to voice their support and concerns about the expansion. Each commenter was allotted two minutes to speak.

Many donned green “I support Chiquita Canyon” shirts and hats in support of the proposal while many of those opposed wore stickers with a bold red “NO!”

Tanya Hauser, a Val Verde resident, spoke about the smell of the landfill and its impact to the nearby business park and post office.

“My fellow Republicans who are wearing green hats and shirts, it’s my guess you wouldn’t be wearing those hats and shirts if you had loved ones in the proximity of Chiquita Canyon,” Hauser said. “Please value the health of citizens over economic expediency.”

Bonnie Nikolai, Castaic Town Council board member, said air quality tests were not done randomly but strategically and said Val Verde had a high cancer death rate.

“I’m asking you to choose the environmental option,” she said. “It was almost like this was done on purpose to keep the public in the dark… I’m asking for a further study to put neighbors’ minds to rest.”

Barbara Myler, a resident of 30 years who is currently fighting breast cancer, said she is hurt by the claims others made about the disease she fights every day as a means to scare people against the landfill. She said Chiquita Canyon does good work for the community and she supports their efforts.

“They’re using cancer to irresponsibly scare the public by making hurtful claims and misinformation about cancer,” she said.

Nancy Oliver, a Santa Clarita resident, said the particle pollution the landfill creates is inescapable.

“Even if you are healthy, you can feel symptoms of particle pollution,” she said. “Why did this city’s residents have to be singled out for the benefit of the rest of the County?”

President and CEO of Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce Lois Bauccio said she supports the continued operations of the landfill in light of the business aspect of Chiquita Canyon.

“Chiquita Canyon is a local business that contributes to the economy of the region,” she said.

Dave Bossart, in support of the landfill expansion, said the West Ranch Town Council supported the landfill as responsibly and safely managed.

“Chiquita Canyon has built a reputation of taking care of solid waste in an environmentally conscientious manner,” Bossard said.

Joshua Rivers, representing Rep. Steve Knight’s office, said he was proud to speak in favor of the landfill.

“I urge you to support Chiquita Canyon,” he read on behalf of Knight.

Logan Smith, a Valencia resident representing the Democratic Party, said the issue was not a matter of Republicans versus Democrats, but of morality and health.

“The air we breathe and the health of our children is not a partisan issue,” he said.

Patti Skinner Sulpizio, speaking on behalf of the Democratic Party, said she believed the Republican Party had an advantage in the matter of the landfill because of funding.

“(The Democrats) have no money backers,” Sulpizio said. “All we have is each other.”

If approved, the landfill will increase from 257 acres to 400 acres and will rise from 1,430 feet to 1,573 feet. Chiquita Canyon Landfill LLC, the applicants for the project, also propose to increase daily disposal limits from 6,000 to 12,000 tons.

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Gina Ender
Gina Ender is a journalist covering city government and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in February 2017.
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  • Julie Blanco

    Gina what did those who oppose the expansion say? Did you not stay long enough to hear them? Aren’t you supposed to be an investigative reporter? Aren’t you supposed to get the facts. All the facts!

  • Tanya Hauser

    Barbara Myler, I encourage you to read the following, referencing Chiquita Canyon’s own environmental report:

    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)

  • Logan Smith

    Patti Sulpizio’s testimony was that the community of Val Verde has no financial backers against the landfill. With that in mind, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party has resolved to oppose the expansion of the landfill.

  • surferpl

    It ALWAYS comes down to the dollars — always the dollars. I am distressed at the visual I see in the above photo: frowning, arms-folded, green-shirts displaying a seemingly defensive posture absolutely averse to *anything* that would affect change in their world — even if that change was for the better. Even though this attitude is destructive and self-destructive and really is not about partisan politics, EVERYTHING now leverages out to be about *money* which is all the right thinks about. This city actually has more money than it knows what to *do* with. But what do they want to *do* with that money in the SCV? Erect pork barrel projects such as a “heroes plaque.”