BOS – Approve Landfill Expansion

Waste Management of California has presented a proposal that will allow Ventura County to fully meet disposal needs for its area of responsibility until 2053. It is a good project.

It will serve the very real needs of trash disposal for many years to come. It will modernize its operation as well as expand its capacity. It will bring additional green technology and increased use of cogeneration. It is forward thinking and it will keep trash fees lower longer.

Ventura County Taxpayers Association believes that the project should be approved as presented by Waste Management to the Board of Supervisors at its meeting next week.

The case for approving the modernization and expansion as originally proposed is well documented.

A long and expensive environmental impact report, funded by Waste Management and completed by an independent consulting firm under the direction of the county, examined the project from every relevant angle and concluded the expansion and modernization project provides an excellent opportunity for the people of Ventura County to meet their waste disposal needs for decades to come. The EIR cost Waste Management more than $2 million.

VCTA has long supported the use of private-sector businesses for providing needed government services. They do it better and at less cost to the taxpayer. In this case they have already saved county taxpayers more than $2 million for an EIR the county might otherwise have had to pay.

VCTA also urges supervisors to approve the project at the capacity and elevation presented, contrary to an arbitrary reduction being recommended by the Planning Commission. Its recommendation simply ignores the factual evidence in the EIR that was once again directed by the county itself.

The reduction proposed will reduce the capacity of the expansion by almost 20 percent. The reduction is a height limitation that would have no discernible impact on the site’s appearance and the county would lose 6 to 12 years of waste-disposal capacity that will be needed and will be more expensive in the future.

Simi Valley, the city most affected by the expansion, has already agreed to support the project. The supervisors should approve the project as proposed by Waste Management or risk costing trash ratepayers more in disposal fees when local trash companies are forced to ship waste out of the county earlier than necessary.

Keep this in mind: Ventura County, its residents, taxpayers and local government have the responsibility as required by the state of California to provide adequate trash management capacities for the people of our county. This isn’t something Waste Management is required to do.

Should the county’s arbitrary conditions render the project economically infeasible, taxpayers will have to pony up millions of dollars to do another expensive EIR, buy land and then end up building essentially the same facilities Waste Management is offering to build today at no direct taxpayer cost.

Why should county taxpayers take that risk, especially a risk based on an arbitrary and groundless decision by the county Planning Commission?

No landfill project can ever be perfect. This project is a good one. It addresses an issue that is a basic utility the same as water and sewer. The Board of Supervisors needs to set aside the rhetoric of project opponents and approve the expansion as presented.

This project saves taxpayers money, gets us the landfill capacity needed for decades, increases use of green technologies and keeps Ventura County trash disposal costs competitive for decades to come.

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