Tanya Hauser: City Council: Cemex rejection, landfill silence?

Chiquita Canyon's district manager Steve Cassulo gives a tour of the landfill on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, to members of the public and county commissioners. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

A March 16 article in The Signal entitled “Knight Re-introduces bill to stop mining in Soledad Canyon” states the following: “City officials have long maintained that the mine would overload Highway 14 with truck traffic, choke the Santa Clarita Valley’s air with particulates and generally degrade quality of life locally.”

Congressman Steve Knight and Santa Clarita Valley officials are concerned about the effects Cemex would have on the citizens of the valley.

Chiquita Canyon Landfill owners are seeking to expand, asking for a permit that would allow it to take in double the amount of garbage (12,000 tons/day) currently allowed under permits.

The City Council has not taken a position on the Chiquita Canyon expansion and has no plans to do so, in spite of the fact that these very same effects will impact Santa Clarita Valley school children, residents, and businesses (effects that are already felt by surrounding residents and businesses due to current landfill operations).

Chiquita Canyon’s environmental report states that, given the requested expansion, up to 570 more trucks per day could be added to our highways (1.6.2 Summary of Operational Baseline and Proposed Project – Trucks).  The commute of SCV residents will become even more congested, especially on Interstate 5.

Particulates will affect a school and business park under the jurisdiction of Santa Clarita Valley. Chiquita’s environmental report states that daily emissions of PM2.5 (particulates) from construction and operation would exceed the Air Quality Management District threshold and that even with additional mitigation, PM2.5 would “remain potentially significant and unavoidable.” (ES.6.8, Air Quality).

The Valencia Commerce Center is a Santa Clarita Valley Business Park just over the hill from the landfill where odors from Chiquita are already detected.

SCVi, a William s. Hart Union High School District charter school already attended by many Santa Clarita Valley, will be less than a mile from the border of an expanded landfill.

Health problems due to particulates include eye, nose, throat and lung irritation; coughing; shortness of breath; and intensified asthma and heart disease.

A landfill expansion will certainly affect the commute and health of many and “generally degrade quality of life” for these constituents and children.

The city, Steve Knight and Scott Wilk (“Wilk Amends Bill to Stop Mine on Sensitive Riverbank,” The Signal, March 23) are adamantly opposed to Cemex due to environmental concerns, including the impact to the unarmored threespine stickleback fish.

Rejection of Cemex but silence concerning Chiquita Canyon’s proposed massive expansion seems contradictory.

It is my hope that the City Council will address the Chiquita Canyon Landfill expansion, and that school children and other SCV residents will receive protection from the negative effects of this landfill, just as this fish is receiving protection from a mine.

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