Christopher Lucero | Laying Blame for the Stench

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Chiquita Canyon. After a couple years of record precipitation, rainwater percolated through the soil. Then, bacteria and other thirsty microbes metabolized the waste and their metabolic processes warmed up the soil as they grow their populations (one example: and consume the waste to produce, well, different waste. Their peculiar waste. It smells, but what you can’t smell is probably worse for you. Hint: Not the landfill smell. It’s the inconsistency/duplicity of Republican politicians. It stinks.

Recall the consistent Republican messaging for over 20 years: EPA bad. Air Quality Management District bad. California environmental policy bad. 

So, Supervisor Kathryn Barger is suddenly supportive of EPA regulations and California authorities that develop regulations for environmental limits on aerosols and percolates. So are Rep. Mike Garcia and Sen. Scott Wilk. So is The Signal editorial board. 

Literally all local Republicans are suddenly aligned in support of regulation to assure the safety and monitoring of environmental conditions.

President Richard Nixon created the EPA to protect citizens against conditions unforeseen about 230 years ago by constitutional signatories. The Constitution righteously guides us to codify and regulate in the interest of the general welfare.

As an employed yet destitute college student (1980-82) I lived 1,000 yards from the now-closed BKK landfill in West Covina. It was very smelly, especially in the summer after a good winter soak — 1978, 1980 and 1983 were three of the wettest years on record in the L.A. Basin. It took a long time, but eventually a better outcome precipitated for that landfill. You can read a brief redemption story here:

As the BKK story shows, there is hope for those near Chiquita Canyon, but it will take time — lots of it. Don’t be fooled by politicians who try to tell you otherwise. Their short-term rancor will realign with their long-term habit once reelected.

It is predictable that if the MAGA supreme leader is reappointed to the presidency by the Electoral College, Donald Trump would further deconstruct many/most federal agencies, especially the EPA. And the Republicans would all, again, go along. Agency deconstruction is expected widely if Trump is reappointed to the presidency. You will need to judge if that is in your best interest.

The Republican platform in 2024 is unchanged from the platform published in 2016. Read it. The Republicans hyperbolize tiny affects like EPA advisors on fishing boats when more impactful and serious health concerns are lurking in their policy reversals.

In the Trump administration, it went like this: The very first letter sent in the aim of throttling the EPA was on May 5, 2017, by Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator appointed by Trump on Feb 17, 2017. It specifically called for “reconsideration of the following topics: 1) tier 4 surface emission monitoring; 2) annual liquids reporting; 3) corrective action timeline procedures; 4) overlapping applicability with other rules; 5) the definition of cover penetration and 6) design plan approval.” That change meant the delay of implementation of Obama-era rules to tighten “emissions reduction requirements for new and existing municipal solid waste landfills.” Pruitt eventually resigned about a year later.

California was forced to repeatedly sue the EPA in the four years between 2017 and 2021, until Joe Biden rescinded the dismantling efforts with an executive order three years ago, on March 4, 2021. (You can read about the EPA administrative debacle here:

The Republican intent as enumerated in the 2016 platform is directly relevant to the problem that residents of the unincorporated areas near Chiquita Canyon are experiencing. If the smell is bad, things you cannot smell, like benzene (a carcinogen) are thousands of times worse. Reelect a Republican, and expect deregulation, expect “worse,” thousands of times worse.

I know some people who live downwind of Chiquita Canyon. They are staunch Republican supporters, essentially to a fault. I am wondering if their staunch is greater than the stench. How will they vote? According to Republican dogma/programming or according to their own best interest?

The Republican proposition for USA stinks. Hold your nose. Hold your breath, too, because it’s what you can’t smell that’s more hazardous/deadly.

Christopher Lucero


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