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

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Thursday, April 6th, 2017

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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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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  • John Musella

    Tanya… the landfill is already operating at the disposal levels the new permit seeks. In fact, the new permit limits future operations below 2016 peek days. So Chiquita will actually be smaller under the new permit. As a result, the entire premise of your commentary is false and misleading.

    • Tanya Hauser

      Hi John, I am quoting directly from Chiquita’s EIR. As Chiquita’s PR rep, perhaps you can explain how asking to expand your footprint from 257 to 400 acres and your current permit of 6,000 tons of actual garbage/day to 12,000 tons of actual garbage/day is downsizing.

      • John Musella

        Tanya… please reference above statement. Chiquita is already operating above 12,000 tons a day, which you know having served on the Val Verde Community Advisory Committee. You saw all the monthly reports.

        • Tanya Hauser

          That 12,000 tons is not all garbage, correct? Much is diverted. I’m seeking to protect the men, women, and children who work and go to school around the landfill. From my understanding, 5 verified odor complaints were issued Tuesday, one short of a violation. There is a problem with existing conditions, much less with a new permit being granted.

          • John Musella

            Sunshine Canyon has had 213 Notices of Violations in 10 years. Chiquita has had one in the same time period. Same size operations. You know this too. Chiquita is one of the best run landfills in the country. You know this too having served on the advisory committee.

          • John Musella

            And yes, Tanya, not all of it is waste. Some of it is material being reused onsite to successfully limit odors and control dust, which is why it’s so well run. We put to good use materials that would otherwise just be thrown away. Pretty good for a landfill, I think. And you know this too.

          • Tanya Hauser

            Like I said, my commentary is primarily based on quotes from Chiquita’s very own EIR, therefore I was not being false or misleading. The air quality, truck traffic, and quality of life remain a concern as a result, especially for children at a school as close as SCVi. A company of Chiquita’s choice wrote the EIR; I am simply referencing their study on the matter.

            Chiquita is asking for a permit that allows 12,000 tons/day of actual garbage; on top of that is the diverted amount which is legally allowed, which is quite a bit.

            A landfill that is one of the “best run landfills in the country,” as you put it, can still stink, create poor air quality, and a lot of truck traffic. People are already impacted by current operations.

            As far as violations, many more would have been had over the years if AQMD officials were closer to this end of Los Angeles County. As you know, they are very short staffed. Sometimes complaints are called in and AQMD cannot arrive until hours later. By the way, I made a mistake above; it was Wednesday, not Tuesday, that 5 odor complaints were received, one short of a violation.

            My commentary is simply a call on the city council, citing Chiquita’s EIR, to address the issues concerning Chiquita, just as they did Cemex.

          • John Musella

            Actually, Tanya, the 12,000 tons is all in waste and beneficial reuse material. That total all in number is less than what is being done today at Chiquita. That means the new permit will have fewer truck trips and less total tonnage than exists today. Again, you know this too. It was presented at the last RPC hearing in Valencia.

          • Tanya Hauser

            I hope this matters to you and Chiquita:
            A landfill that is one of the “best run landfills in the country,” as you put it, can still stink, create poor air quality, and a lot of truck traffic. People are already impacted by current operations.

            Odor complaints have already been called in this morning.

            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).

            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).

          • John Musella

            Tanya… Basically, the landfill seeks to continue current operations on its existing property. That’s it.

          • Castaic Clay

            You reached the limit of your permit.
            Receiving a brand new permit is not in the communities best interest.
            The writing on the wall was there and you did not read it.
            Live up to the contract and move along.
            Thanks for the 10,000 houses you will continue providing power for.

          • Erica Larsen-Dockray

            ^^ that’s laughable. I hope anyone reading this has a look at the DEIR where Chiquita Canyon is literally requesting an increase in tonnage, vertical space, lateral space, additional facilities, constructing a new entrance, etc. You know this John

          • John Musella

            Smaller daily operations under the new permit, all on existing property. That’s what is being proposed, as outlined at the Regional Planning Commission hearing you attended.

          • Tanya Hauser

            That is what the County wants; not what Chiquita applied for and the DEIR was drafted for.

          • John Musella

            No, that’s what chiquita presented at the RPC hearing. And you know that. You were there.

          • Tanya Hauser

            Looking at Chiquita’s Power Point again from that night, I see the tonnage Chiquita has conceded to. You are right about that.

            This last sentence from the EIR (copied below) concerning keeping the landfill at status quo (Alternative B) is worth noting, however: “While this alternative would result in fewer truck trips and fewer acres of disturbance, it does not reduce the level of significance of any of the impacts below that of the Proposed Project.”

            And: “A Continued Operation (Status Quo) with 0% Increase of Daily Waste Disposal Tonnage Alternative neither avoids nor substantially lessens the effects associated with air quality or GHGs and climate change, or other potential environmental impacts, when compared to the Proposed Project. ”

            So back to the air quality of Valencia Commerce Center employees and SCVi kids…

            Multiple complaints called in just this week. People are already affected negatively by Chiquita.

            8.3.2.4 Continued Operation (Status Quo) with 0% Increase of Daily Waste Disposal Tonnage Alternative Conclusion

            “A Continued Operation (Status Quo) with 0% Increase of Daily Waste Disposal Tonnage Alternative neither avoids nor substantially lessens the effects associated with air quality or GHGs and climate change, or other potential environmental impacts, when compared to the Proposed Project. This alternative also only partially meets the objectives of the Proposed Project. This determination is based on the following:

            Alternative B would reduce the severity of potential local air quality impacts, but overall impacts would remain significant and unavoidable. Based on the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD’s) recommended methods for evaluating potential air quality impacts, any sized landfill expansion would result in a significant and unavoidable air quality impact due to the combined emissions during construction and operation.

            Alternative B neither avoids nor substantially lessens other potentially significant environmental impacts. Because there would be no significant difference in the way in which any sized landfill alternative would be constructed or operated, overall impacts would be generally the same regardless of whether 12,000 tons per day are received or whether 6,000 tons per day are received. While this alternative would result in fewer truck trips and fewer acres of disturbance, it does not reduce the level of significance of any of the impacts below that of the Proposed Project.”

          • Erica Larsen-Dockray

            “Smaller daily operations under the new permit, all on existing property. That’s what is being proposed, as outlined at the Regional Planning Commission hearing you attended.” “No, that’s what chiquita presented at the RPC hearing. And you know that. You were there.”

            You mean you are saying you have changed the DEIR to match the daily operations being smaller?? That the existing property isn’t moving closer to the Valencia Commerce center, SCVi, and Live Oak??

            Because I was there and all I saw was a powerpoint presentation used to try and make it look like your project is not changing any business operations… NOT what is being ASKED FOR ON PAPER.

            John you are still not giving any response to Tanya’s concern about the PM levels and are trying to dodge the fact the landfill will indeed move closer to the east where the ridge-line has already been surpassed by the garbage pile. Leaving anyone working at the Valencia center, living in Live Oak and Hasley Hills and the over 1500 SCHOOL CHILDREN wide open to landfill pollution.

            While you’re at it… please tell us about the safe levels of hydrogen sulfide.

          • Tanya Hauser

            John, this article:

            (https://signalscv.com/2017/03/02/chiquita-canyon-landfill-getting-bigger-smaller/)

            seems to contradict what you are maintaining in this comment thread.

            Jim Holt said he spoke with Regional Planning and landfill officials on Thursday, March 2nd — the day AFTER the hearing (and Chiquita’s powerpoint).

            Some quotes:

            “This means, the request by landfill owners is to become bigger in size and for permission to dump more garbage than the amount spelled out in its current permit.”

            “The company wants to dump double the amount of trash it dumps there now.”

            “‘What we’re asking from the county is permission for 12,000 tons a day,’ Musella said Thursday”

            “If commissioners approve the recommendation to planners, trucks will be allowed to dump a maximum of about 6,600 a day – not 12,000.”

            “’We’re recommending they stay at the existing level, but they want to increase that level,’ Claghorn said.”

            “’When they say ‘downsizing’ they’re looking at 2016 (numbers),’ Claghorn told The Signal Thursday. ‘They had a total amount of trash there that year of 2.8 million. They want to use that as the comparison. — ‘That’s the reason they may consider it downsizing,’ he said.”

            “’In the current recommended draft conditions, there is a cap on the amount of waste disposal of 1.4 million tons, and a limit of 700,000 tons of beneficial use, for a total of 2.1 million tons for all materials,’ he said.”

            “’However, it’s possible that the Commission could modify the draft conditions,’ he added.”

            “And, it’s on that possibility, Chiquita officials hope to get permission to dump more trash.”

            “’It’s all up for discussion,’ Musella said.”

            “Chiquita plans to convince planning commissioners on this point between now and April 19 when the commission meets again.”

          • Erica Larsen-Dockray

            #micdrop Someone just got caught in their own lies.

          • Tanya Hauser

            Mike Dean said at the March 1st hearing, referencing the PowerPoint: Significant environmental impacts include air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the size of the project does not eliminate these impacts.

            My husband and I rewatched Mike Dean’s presentation, and looked at his PowerPoint again, especially “Current Reality vs. Proposed CUP.” We fail to see that CCL desires to stay at status quo; only that the county is recommending the amount of trash not be increased. Please tell us the marker on the video from Mike Dean’s presentation and the particular PowerPoint slides which show that CCL desires to accept the county’s recommendation of 6,730 tons/day and not 12,000 tons/day (something that is contradicted in Jim Holt’s Signal article, “Chiquita Canyon Landfill: Getter Bigger or Smaller,” March 2, 2017.)

          • Tanya Hauser

            CCL’s “Val Verde Community Funding Memorandum of Agreement” (4-6-17), third paragraph…6,000 tons per day to 12,000 tons per day.

  • JoeCommentor

    Nice pissing match below.

    How do people who do nothing to limit or prevent deplorable urban sprawl have any grounds to argue about a provider that takes their refuse out of their enchanted, unsustainable lifestyles? You SCVs pollute air in your commutes, overuse water (to the point you have to import it 100s of miles), don’t want a sand and gravel plant to make your cement locally to continue your sprawl.

    You are so removed from reality in your ivory tower protected compounds you can’t imagine how delusional you are.

    You are disgusting.

    • Tanya Hauser

      Thanks for your thoughts, Joe.