Posted by: nevadansagainstgarbage | December 8, 2010

Nevadans Against Garbage – December 8, 2010

Why? What are your thoughts about this?
Several years ago Recology came into our community. They may have come of their own volition or by invitation of someone looking to make an easy buck or two on our backs. At any rate, the scheme was hatched to build a mega landfill on the desert playa west of town. The chosen site was ideal for their puposes; the section abutted a set of railroad tracks and was private land. It would enable a developer to ignore a lot of the requirements of such a project if it was to be built on public land.
The Humboldt Regional Planning Commission (RPC) and the Humboldt County Development Authority (HDA) neither of which are elected by the citizens of Humboldt County, were contacted and along with City Hall, became advocates for the project which might bring in some revenue to our county and town. A Conditional or Special Use Permit (CUP) was issued even though, at the time, county ordinances prohibited the acceptance of solid waste from outside the landfill district for disposal at sites other than Humboldt County Regional Landfill (At the time the CUP was issued, April, 2007, local ordinances only allowed for one landfill.) The City attorney authored a change to that ordinance to allow for a second landfill which was approved October 2007. Even though this was the case, I’ve heard that the Mayor, along with others proclaimed that the landfill was a done deal and that the resistance to the project was from a “vocal minority”
Once the public became aware of the project’s magnitude a grass roots organization, Nevadans Against Garbage (NAG), was formed to educate the community about both the pros and cons of the project. Once understood, the community became actively engaged to stop this eco-hostile project.
Recology, realizing they had awakened a sleeping giant in the citizens of Humboldt County, portrayed resistance to the project as being politically motivated rather than the legitimate concern of residents that there is a devastating potential impact to the environment. The project proposes to have a 45-car train carrying 90 containers, each filled with 45 tons of garbage (including asbestos, shredded tires and sewer sludge) from nine northern California counties, unloading 8 million pounds of garbage, five days a week. This would result in a pyramid a pyramid of garbage 200 feet high on the playa approximately 30 feet above an active aquifer, in an area with extremely poor soil quality, in an active fault zone, and in an area prone to very high winds and flooding. The proposed life expectancy of this project is 95 years and would threaten the ground water supply and air quality for generations to come. It should also be noted that no environmental impact study was required by local or state officials, and that the USGS never completed their study of the ground water aquifers. Furthermore, it is logical to assume that this image looming on the landscape will negatively impact healthy future growth and development of our community.
The County Commissioners voted NOT to extend the 3-year conditional use permit for Recology upon expiration of that CUP. Recology’s initial response was to blame ‘angry citizens’ for the delay, even though by their own timeline ‘angry citizens’ didn’t get involved until 2 years into the permitting process. Recology’s next response was to sue the county commissioners as individuals as well as the county. The last the voters have heard on this is that there has been two ‘closed-to-the-voters’ sessions to negotiate a settlement of the lawsuit(s).
Even while Recology has active lawsuits against our community and political leaders and the conditional use permit is not valid, the HDA accepted funding from Recology to support their Winnemucca Futures planning project, our community college was used as a forum for a Recology sales presentation under the guise of a ‘Resources Seminar’, and our mayor has rented office space to Recology to be used to further their partnership with the community and provide an educational center for primary and secondary students on recycling. While none of this is illegal, it certainly shows poor judgement and a lack of consideration for a majority of the voters. I’m sure someone can argue that to refuse Recology these options would be discriminatory, but it seems that when someone is suing your community, you place on hold other relationships to avoid any conflicts in the legal process.
In addition, while we can all learn from and better deploy recycling, can we all agree that having Recology teach classes to a community putting about 10,000 tons of waste in a landfill per year while they plan on depositing 1,040,000 tons of non-recycleable out-of-state waste per year, is truly the definition of hypocrisy?
The voters in Humboldt County have voted ( by a 70% margin) to provide for a second landfill, when the need arises, but have insisted that the volume of waste be strictly limited due to concerns over the ecology and the health and safety in our area. Specifically, the voters iniative states any out of town waste must be limited to a percent of what locals put in our existing landfill, which is about 10,000 tons a year. This means any outside entity would be limited to approximately 15,000 tons a year. Compared to the 1,040,000 tons Recology would like to bring in, this is a significant reduction. This common sense approach considers the needs of the region and balances it with responsibility. The citizens of Humboldt County have made their wishes known.
Recology stated, when assuring San Francisco their waste would never go to Jungo Road in order to get San Francisco’s business, that Jungo Road was ‘speculative’ in nature all along.(quote source: http://bit.ly/bjsmNc ). Recology spokesperson Adam Alberti has publicly stated “We don’t want to jam it down their throats”, “we are working to build trust in the community.”(quote source: http://www.lvrj.com/news/57642797.html)If that is truly the case, why doesn’t Recology respect our wishes? Why does this company persist with lawsuits against our county and our commissioners? And, while not illegal, why are some local officals and agencies supporting Recology’s efforts to ingratiate themselves in the community in the middle of these lawsuits?
The only actions on Recology’s part that interest this community are; (1) an end to the permitting process for the Jungo Landfill project, (2) dropping all lawsuits against this community and it’s members, (3) and finally, to leave us in peace.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for the web site. Thank you again for putting this together for us. Lets get this thing stopped.
    Maxl Willis

  2. We understand there is possibly a second ‘closed-to-the-voters’ settlement meeting Recology has against the community on December 16 (source: http://bit.ly/fQLhOa). We hope for a positive outcome that represents the vote of the commissioners NOT to extend the CUP and represents the vote of the community to limit out of town waste. Given Recology has ‘moved in’, and the lack of transparency on the legal proceedings, the voters remain very concerned and continue to remain vigilent and active in stopping the Jungo Road Landfill.

    What can you do?

    •Please share this update with your friends and family via email/Facebook
    •Share our brochure, downloadable from https://nolandfill.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/nagtrifoldver16b.pdf
    •Write to the editors of our local papers and share your view. It is as simple as an email to the Silver Pinyon at editor@SilverPinyon.com and the Humboldt Sun at Editorial@Humboldtsun.com
    •Write to politicians, local, state and federal, as well as any other press, TV, advocacy group, etc. to get them involved in stopping the Jungo Road Landfill

    Please feel free to use any of this material as your own. Let’s continue the voter momentum from November and get our town back.


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