The fact that the NVC administers this fund is not generally well known. It is an important part of what we do for our community, and although this operation is well funded, it does not fund the NVC’s operations. The Trust Fund is a 501 (c)4 for tax purposes.
The primary purpose of the POCBT2002 is to fund worthy projects that will protect, enhance, beautify, educate, reward or be of general benefit to the residents in the area within its established boundaries.
The North Valley Coalition’s Board (NVC) acting as the POCBT2002 fund’s board decide the merits and final amounts of any request by residents, community organizations, schools and parks located within its boundaries including any other organization or City and County departments that directly services, benefits or have a nexus with that area (i.e. fire & police).
Formed on December 31, 2002 as the result of an agreement between the North Valley Coalition and Patriot Resources LLC which resulted in the establishment of a fund administered by the NVC for the benefit of the surrounding neighborhood. In return the NVC settled its appeal to the City of Los Angeles North Valley Area Planning Commission on August 15, 2002. Several years later the oilfield was purchased by Castle Peak which was later renamed DCOR LLC. DCOR LLC has continued to honor the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and to fund the POCBTF2002.
The North Valley Coalition’s Board administers the POCBTF and all positions are mirror images of that organization.
Ray Cote Bill Cotter Meg Volk
The board’s main job is to review requests for funds. A requestor is asked to present an oral (optional) and/or a written presentation of the project to include its scope, exactly what is being requested, its benefits, who or which organization will directly benefit, a written estimate of the cost from a qualified supplier, and at least one additional quote (two preferred). If a project is properly presented, and all questions posed have been addressed; the board will deliberate in the absence of the requestor and make a decision to fund or not to fund. The requestor will be notified in writing of acceptance (including any conditions) or telephonically (including reasons) if rejected. If a project is deemed worthy but not complete, a board member(s) volunteers and/or is assigned by mutual agreement and will assume the responsibility for reporting the status and/or wrangling the project through to completion by providing the necessary information, co-ordination and legwork before it is returned for consideration. In some cases (if the board deems necessary) will negotiate and purchase requested items/services in order to simplify and/or expedite the financial proceedings.
Yearly Program Service Accomplishments
The POCBT approved and hired a professional security company to patrol daily in the evenings for the entire area within its established boundaries to include Bee Canyon and the entrance area to O’Melveny Park in order to prevent vandalism, graffiti, and roaming groups of youths who had been partying and drinking in the neighborhood. An information kiosk was donated to City of LA Recreation & Parks Department for use in Bee Canyon Park, and an Autodialer was donated to the LAUSD Van Gogh Elementary School for the school and for local organizations use.
The POCBT continued to provide a professional security company to patrol daily in the evenings the entire area within its established boundaries. Funds for a civic permit for a combined meeting with the City of Los Angeles Citizens Advisory Committee & County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services that was held at the Van Gogh Elementary School were provided. Monies for a Rose Garden and landscaping plus a computer projector were donated to the LAUSD Van Gogh Elementary School for the school and local organizations use.
The POCBT approved funds for two flyers in the local newspaper announcing a meeting and the results of a health study conducted in and around the fund’s established boundaries by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. The annual Easter Egg Hunt conducted in O’Melveny Park by Los Angeles Recreation & Parks Department for the residents in Granada Hills was funded by the board. The POBTF also funded the restoration of the Ranch House in O’Melveny Park by the Parks & Recreation Department. Our final project of the year was to fund the Porta-Potties for use at a Day in the Park at Bee Canyon Park sponsored by the Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council (GHNNC).
The annual Easter Egg Hunt conducted in O’Melveny Park by Los Angeles Recreation & Parks Department for the residents in Granada Hills was funded by the board. The board also funded the trimming of fruit trees in O’Melveny Park and Bee Canyon Park by the Parks & Recreation Department. The board also funded the purchase of storage racks, cabinets and a storage unit for use by community organizations within its established boundaries. The final project for the year was the funding of violins for the LAUSD Van Gogh Elementary School orchestra.
The first project of the year was funding the restoration of the Bunk House in O’Melveny Park by the Parks & Recreation Department. Funding for planting poppies for Bee Canyon Park as sponsored by the Friends of the Park was also accomplished. A bus trip to San Juan Capistrano & San Diego Wild Animal Park for the LAUSD Van Gogh Elementary School 4th & 5th grade was funded along with matching funds for their Library Book Fund Raiser yearly event. Finally, a night vision scope was funded, donated and loaned to the Recreation & Parks resident Sr. Gardener at O’Melveny Park for his use in nighttime enforcement of park rules. The board continued to fund a storage unit for use by community organizations within its established boundaries.
The board funded a limited account for copying and mailing purposes at a local business for the City of Los Angeles Community Advisory Committee – Sunshine Canyon Landfill. The annual Easter Egg Hunt conducted in O’Melveny Park by Los Angeles Recreation & Parks Department for the residents in Granada Hills was funded by the board. The funding of planting and watering of 500 oak trees in O’Melveny and Bee Canyon Parks, and the co-ordination of planting an additional 500 oaks within a 3 mile radius of Sunshine Canyon Landfill to meet City requirements was completed. Twenty IMac computers were donated to Van Gogh Elementary School for their new computer lab and Sibelius 5 Educational music software for their music instructor. Also donated a timpani section consisting of drums, gong and bell sets for the Robert Frost Middle School. Donated one-half of the cost to the Recreation and Parks Department to regrade/restore a closed trail from the end of O’Melveny Park to Mission Peak. The board continued to fund a storage unit for use by community organizations within its established boundaries.
Requests were just as numerous this year and the board again funded the annual Easter Egg Hunt conducted in O’Melveny Park by Los Angeles Recreation & Parks Department for residents in Granada Hills. Funds to replace a transmitter destroyed in the Northridge fire and to update some of their other equipment was made to the Los Angeles Radio Reading Service (LARRS) that reads daily newspapers as a part of their service to visually impaired or blind persons. Funds for ten umbrellas and a Versa Tube shelter were donated to the North Valley Charter Academy to protect students who sweltered outside during the summer. Next on the list were funds donated to the Friends of the Library for the Petite Park Library to support the adult and children’s reading programs and to buy four computers. Funds to make and install trail signs for O’Melveny Park were provided for an Eagle Scout Project. This was followed by funding of a Wish List from Van Gogh Elementary School for the salary for one-half of a school librarian, ten Apple IMac Laptop computers, new library books, an Arts & Reading Account for school supplies, and a Music Fund for the Kadima Conservancy. A similar Wish List was submitted and granted for the Robert Frost Middle School for 100 Student Orchestra Chairs, 2 double French horns, and a number of percussion kits and mallets. The year ended with a contribution to the Granada Hills Veterans Memorial and a limited account for copying and mailing purposes at a local business for the new combined City of Los Angeles/County of Los Angeles Sunshine Canyon Landfill Community Advisory Committee. The board continued to fund a storage unit for use by community organizations within its established boundaries, and a limited account for copying and mailing purposes at a local business for the City of Los Angeles Community Advisory Committee – Sunshine Canyon Landfill which in November was converted to an account for the Combined City/County CAC (SCL CAC).
In response to a very active campaign by the NVC and other organizations such as the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Planning and Conservation League, the Environmental Law Foundation, and the International Brotherhood of Teamster, including our own Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council among others, the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved a new CUP but ONLY after applying the most stringent conditions (from both the County and the new City CUP). Along with additional mitigations, they agreed to apply a closure date like any other landfill in the County. Although we fought hard to have a 2015 date the Board submarined us with a 2030 date.
RENEW LA Ad Hoc Committee
The RENEW LA Ad Hoc Committee continues to meet the 3rd Tuesday of every month, City Hall, Room 1050 at 3:30 p.m. This Committee continues to do good work, requiring Sanitation to report on its progress in meeting the goals (among them diversion of 3100 tons per day over a 4-year period), and to advance the program including its 13 incorporated ordinances as originally presented by Councilman Smith (all of which the NVC endorsed).
ZERO WASTE (SWIRP)
The Bureau of Sanitation introduced its Zero Waste (Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan) and the NVC was among the first to join. This plan came about as a result of the Council voting in 2006 to divert 600 tons per day from Sunshine and the balance of 3100 tons per day to be diverted over the next four years and the responsibility for thisdiversionwould rest with the Bureau of Sanitation (see 13 incorporated ordinances in RENEW LA Plan).
Kudos to BOS as they appear to have embraced recycling and appear to be moving away from landfilling.
BFI Is At It Again – 3 HELIPADS
Not content to trash our neighborhood with blowing debris, dust, pollutants et cetera they havedecided to take it upon themselves to build 3 helicopter landing pads for the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) without permits and most certainly against the NVC wishes which were expressed to them in no uncertain terms a number of years ago. If it were not for the fact that they were cited by a City inspector, the NVC, the GHNNC nor the Sunshine Canyon Landfill CAC-Cityside would not have known of the pads existence. Yet, another violation of neighborhood trust, and of the City CUP requirements which would require notification and an appropriate filing with the City and the State when their use changes. Of course there were more rules broken and we are working on this but I will reserve this information until we have made them accountable.
I know what you are going to say because we all appreciate the LAFD and the work they do, however, the plan is to fly many helicopters onto the landfill anytime during brushfires anywhere around the SF Valley and its environs, and load up with water from BFI’s tank on the berm. Anybody who has lived here for any time at all knows the sound of a fully loaded helicopter trying to gain altitude in the mouth of the Newhall-Saugus Pass. An incessant WOOOP, WOOOP, WOOOP. Worse than Vietnam. The sound is amplified by the mountains and directed right at our neighborhood. Of course the risk of collision (the landing patterns for Van Nuys, Burbank & Whiteman intersect right in the area) is being totally ignored by the LAFD in their eagerness to secure another landing area beyond the one they already have on the Lopez Canyon Landfill (also without permits).
The politicians and the LAFD will try to lay a guilt trip on you that somehow we are ungrateful, that we must once again offer up our community for the benefit of the rest of Los Angeles. I say to you that we have had enough. There are too many LULUs (Locally Unacceptable Land Uses) in our area already. We have given enough to the rest of Los Angeles. LOS ANGELES…..Don’t worry about the Valley seceding. Worry about the Granada Hills area…. All of your WATER (Los Angeles Aqueduct, Sacramento River Pipeline, Tillman Treatment Plant, Los Angeles Water Treatment Plant, Los Angeles Reservoir), all of your ELECTRICITY (Pacific Intertie and its attendant transmission lines), all of your GAS (Cal Sempra Gas Storage), all of your Los Angeles Police Department TRAINING FACILITIES (pistol ranges, bomb squad disposal, and driver training track), and of course all your TRASH (Sunshine Canyon Landfill-only active landfill in the City).
Did I forget to mention, the I-5 Golden State Freeway, 14 Antelope Valley Freeway, 210 Foothill Freeway, 405 San Diego Freeway and 118 Simi Valley Freeways and their interchanges? And of course the heliport that was foisted on us by the DWP in the Lower Van Norman Dam area when they were asked to leave the Van Nuys facility by you guessed who – our very own Los Angeles Fire Department.
I believe we have given enough for LA…..
BFI Applies to the State for SWFP
BFI applies to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) for a new Solid Waste Facilities Permit (SWFP) for a Combined City/County landfill bypassing the two Lead Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) of the City and the County. Both the City and the County objected as the representatives of the California Integrated Waste Management Board they are suppose to process and certify such requests. The NVC also raised a hue and cry at the City’s Technical Advisory Committee on Sunshine Canyon (TAC) as BFI failed to notify both City and County CACs of their filing, and that there was a 5 year ban on combined operations. At that meeting the City indicated to BFI that they would file a lawsuit if BFI did not withdraw their application. One week later the application was withdrawn.
Construction & Demolition Waste as Alternative Daily Cover on County side
After the County Solid Waste Facilities Hearing Board approved the use of Construction & Demolition Waste (C&D) as Alternative Daily Cover (ADC) opening up the County side to potentially contaminated material, the Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) subsequently found after they inspected BFI’s subsidiary who was supplying the C&D material to the landfill, that as our attorney had claimed, this material was contaminated and did not qualify as C&D. BFI was forced to stop using this material on February 14, 2006.
5-Year Contract Renewal for City Trash
The City Council approved options recommended by RENEW LA Ad Hoc Committee for a contract with Sunshine Canyon with 600 tons per day diverted to other landfills (see below under RENEW LA Ad Hoc Committee heading). BFI only wanted 300 tons per day being diverted.
On March 17, 2006 the Council voted to divert the 600 tons per day. The responsibility for the balance of the 3100 tons per day to be diverted over the next four years will now rest with Bureau of Sanitation (we wait with baited breath as these are the same folks who have repeatedly failed to address the problem over the years).
Read the letter from Mayor Villaraigosa to our President.
The Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council (GHNNC) thanks all the March 2005 Mayoral Candidates who replied to the GHNNC’s questionnaire and to all the volunteers that helped create, disseminate and distribute them.
Each candidate was given the choice to answer, No, Yes, or Qualification. Additionally they were allowed to check No with Qualification or Yes with Qualification.
To view the comparison of how all of the candidates responded to the GHNNC questionnaire click on the all link below:
The Oak Tree Permit for the removal of 510 oak trees was once again on the Public Works calendar. It was continued over from March 31, 2004. The count of trees to be removed has now been raised from 510 to 940. The board had ordered BFI to recount the trees in light of the discrepancies. BFI had also been trying to get credit for trees already planted for the County expansion. The Board was told previously that if BFI gets their permit they will try to remove trees as soon as possible because they will not be permitted to do so once the migratory birds have started their nesting season.
Remember that the 510 oaks or even the 940 only represented those 8-inches or more in diameter. There could be thousands of oak trees smaller than that, and they wouldn’t even count. As you can see, if Public Works approved this permit the potential impacts to the flora and fauna, not to mention us, is far greater than the public knew.
At the end of the hearing BFI was granted their Oak Tree Permit for the removal of 940 oaks after the City Attorney opined that they could only consider the permit and nothing else, and that they had no power or discretion to consider or place conditions on the permit. The Board refused to hear environmentalists who poked holes in their mitigation plans, and decried the loss of trees, birds, and wildlife. They also refused to hear serious issues raised by the NVC regarding BFI’s misrepresentations regarding when they knew there were more than the 510 oaks they originally applied for, their plan to start clearing trees immediately which will endanger birds during the current nesting season, and that oaks planted as mitigation on City land for the loss of County oaks were in danger. They also failed to condition their approval to insure that BFI had obtained all the necessary permits and satisfied all requirements of the Q-Conditions and the Mitigation Reporting Monitoring Program (MRMP).
BFI immediately began a program of clearing the native and non-native species the very next morning starting with the willows in the stream bed and endangering the nesting birds (as we said they would). Still not satisfied with gaining their permit and the rape of the land, BFI now is contesting how much they have to pay the City for their Oak Tree Permit.
On an upbeat note, Supervisor Antonovich and County Planning issued BFI a warning that County mitigation trees on City land are protected and if BFI touches them they will be in violation of their County operating permit.
Water Board Hearing
January 29th, 2004
The California Regional Water Quality Control Board-Los Angeles Region heard updates from health impact study under Item 16 which had been prepared by the L.A. County Health Department and an investigation by L.A. City Councilman Greig Smith’s office that concerns sewer discharges by Browning-Ferris Industries. (These were informational items only. There were no votes on these items. )
Item 17 was for the consideration of a tentative Section 401 Water Quality Certification (for dredge and fill activities) for the expansion of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill. The Board ended up adopting the 401 Water Quality Certification for Sunshine Canyon Landfill with minor modifications and a condition that calls for BFI to create/restore wetlands of approximately 2 acres in Bull Creek behind the Knollwood shopping area. A proposed limitation of $100,000 and a 1-year limit for expenditure was removed.
We would like to thank all of you for coming out to so many meetings of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region. At the December 4, 2003 meeting, the Board voted 4 to 2 to approve the “dump’s” expansion back into the City.
Historically, the Board has never denied a permit to any landfill, however, given the testimony by the public, City officials, and politicians representing the San Fernando Valley, they did not appear comfortable approving BFI’s Waste Discharge Permit. BFI has been required to install a double composite liner; a far cry from the 2-feet of clay and 60-mil liner they had proposed, and a step up from the 4-feet of clay and 80-mil liner proposed by the Board’s staff.
Additionally, the Board required that the health studies, the results of testing by Councilman Smith’s office be brought back before the Board to review, amend or possibly revoke the permit if there is sufficient evidence that the landfill poses a risk to public water quality. The NVC has filed an appeal with the State Water Resources Board to the decision to approve the expansion. BFI also filed an appeal but only because they don’t want to spend the money for a double liner, and because they are afraid the reopener clauses might expose them to other requirements or closure.
Aliso Canyon and Proposition K Funds
October 3, 2003 Department of Recreation and Parks 200 N. Main Street 13th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90012
Attn: Manuel Mollinado, General Manager
Re: Aliso Canyon, Proposition K Funds
The North Valley Coalition is composed of homeowners and environmentalist in the Granada Hills area, and we regularly inform and represent over 3000 homes in the area through our mailings and distribution.
The use of Aliso Canyon as parkland and possibly an equestrian center would be a valuable asset to the City. Many of us are familiar with the property, and in the past we have spoken to Councilman Hal Bernson, and again to our new Councilman, Greig Smith; of the need to seek funds to purchase and preserve Aliso Canyon.
The North Valley Coalition whole heartedly supports obtaining Proposition K funds for the acquisition of parcels of land adjacent to Aliso Canyon, on the east side of Aliso Creek and for the eventual conversion of Aliso Canyon to City parkland.
If we can be of further assistance in this endeavor please do not hesitate to contact me at home. Yours truly,
Wayde Hunter President NVC
AB 1497 (Montañez) Fact Sheet
This bill makes significant changes to California law related to solid waste landfill operations in an effort to improve the ability of the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) to fulfill its mission to protect the environment and the health and safety of communities throughoutCalifornia. The bill also takes into account key principles of environmental justice, applying them specifically to solid waste landfill operations in California.
Environmental Justice became part of California’s laws in 1999 and 2001. Reflected in statute by Senate Bill 115 (Solis) in 1999, California law defines “Environmental Justice” to mean, “The fair treatment of people of all races, cultures and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of all environmental laws, regulations and policies” (§65040.12).
In 2000, Governor Davis signed Senate Bill 89 (Escutia) and included a specific appropriation to Cal-EPA for its Environmental Justice Program. SB 89 established the existing framework for pursuing environmental justice, creating the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice. Currently six Boards, Departments and Offices are part of the Interagency Working Group and the issue of environmental justice has been given a larger role in environmental planning statewide.
Correlation to Environmental Justice
The provisions of the bill represent substantial progress in the environmental justice movement in California and will help to provide equity and environmental balance for communities that host solid waste facilities.
This bill ensures that environmental justice is integrated into the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies as they are applied to solid waste landfills; and the bill provides for meaningful public participation and increased opportunities for communities to have a voice in the decision-making process for solid waste landfills in the state.
Addressing Current Deficiencies
Assembly Bill 1497 proposes a number of changes to state law with respect to solid waste landfill operations in California.
Requires the CIWMB to develop regulations through their public process that define what is meant by a “significant change” in the operation and design of a solid waste facility. This definition has never been included either in state law or in any regulations for solid waste landfill operations in the state. The bill also stipulates that the recommendations presented by the OPR/Cal-EPA working group on environmental justice are to be included in the regulations developed by the board.
Requires specific and expanded notice to the affected local community on a requested change to a solid waste facility’s permit at the initial phase of the permit request, as well as at any appeal of a permit decision. In addition, the bill also requires the lead agency to notify the CIWMB of the requested change and whether or not it is considered to be “significant” at this initial phase. In turn, the bill provides an opportunity for the CIWMB to comment to the lead agency about their assessment of whether or not the permit request constitutes a “significant change” per the guidelines to be established by this bill and recommend any changes or corrections.
Requires a lead agency hold a local hearing in the host jurisdiction regarding the request to change a solid waste facility’s permit as well as for any appeal of a permit decision. There is currently no requirement for a public hearing at any phase in the solid waste facility permitting process (outside of CEQA).
As part of the closure and post-closure plans for a solid waste facility, establishes provisions for retraining and reemployment of the facility’s contract employees and requires a waste facility operator to establish a trust with sufficient funding to expedite the retraining and reemployment conditions.
Increased enforcement of statutes and regulations governing solid waste facilities including increased fines and penalties for non-compliance.
NVC’s letter to the Governor
September 15, 2003 The Honorable Gray Davis, Governor State Capitol, First Floor Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 1497 (Montañez) – Solid Waste Facilities: Permit Changes
SENT BY FAX: (916) 327-5296
Dear Governor Davis:
This letter is to express the North Valley Coalition’s support for Assembly Bill 1497 and respectfully ask that you sign this bill when it crosses your desk. After years of fighting the expansion of Sunshine Canyon Landfill in the City and County of Los Angeles, and in assisting other groups in fighting landfills in their own areas, our organization has long been frustrated by the failure of the system to protect the residents in the neighborhoods surrounding these landfills.
This bill ensures that environmental justice is integrated into the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies as they are applied to solid waste landfills; and the bill specifies that no owner or operator shall make any significant change in the facility design or operation without providing notice to the community, and specifies that a local enforcement agency (LEA) must determine that the operator provide adequate notice and complies with all CEQA requirements prior to approving a permit. It even gives protection to the solid waste facilities employees by guaranteeing their re-employment and retraining, and as such, has our wholehearted support.
We believe that this bill is a positive step in reducing the negative impacts of landfills, and goes a long way to increase the public’s ability to provide meaningful input into the process.
Thank you in advance for displaying foresight and compassion with your signing of Assembly Bill 1497.
June 28, 2002 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District Regulatory Branch – Ventura Field Office ATTN: CESPL-CO-200200802-AOA 2151 Alessandro Drive, Suite 255 Ventura, California 93001
RE: Public Notice/Application No: 2002-00802-AOA
Thank you for the opportunity to comment and for extending the response period to July 1, 2002. We respectfully request a Public Hearing for the reasons given herein.
It is the belief of the NVC that the project is being approved incrementally. This piecemeal approval is misleading and fails to evaluate the cumulative impacts of the project on the wetlands in Sunshine Canyon.
Sunshine Canyon is a large arrow shaped canyon bisected diagonally in the middle by the City and County boundary lines. A landfill (consisting of two parts) that was situated on the City side closed in 1991 after accepting approximately 25 million tons of trash. BFI had then proposed a 215 million ton mega-dump expansion involving both the City and the County sides. Due to opposition this plan was modified to a Three Phase plan that involved: first – a County expansion, second – a City/County expansion, and third – County expansion again.
The original 1987 EIR for the 215 million ton expansion of the landfill identified over 10 acres of wetlands that would be destroyed. Subsequently in 1991 in order to minimize the impacts and gain County approval, BFI reduced the amount to less than 10 acres by reducing the number of acres affected (8.4 acres) and by not landfilling the City portion of the wetlands (4.62 acres) that were a part of this original plan. Even before the final approval in 1993 of the wetland area to be impacted by the County expansion (17 million tons approved – 70 million conditional), the applicant had already filed in 1992 for an expansion (90 -100 million tons) into the remaining wetlands in the City.
Now it seems that under the guise of closure of the old City landfill, BFI is further piecemealing the destruction of the wetlands by using the closure mechanism to put in the infrastructure of the latest City/County (90 million ton) expansion even before the required permit from the Water Board for this expansion has been issued.
Under the heading of “Proposed Activity for Which a Permit is Required” on Page 3, the proponents attempts to portray that the construction of all of the drainage is a requirement of closure. This is false and misleading. Many of the so-called improvements such as culverting and lining of the stream, along with the oversized sedimentation basin were proposed as part of their Phase Two plan for a City/County expansion and not as any requirement for closure. Historically, this section of waterway (streambed/wetlands) has drained the entire Sunshine Canyon both City and County sides, along with the old City landfill, without any improvements and without any problems. When the County landfill was approved, the appropriate drainage and sedimentation basin were constructed on the County side to minimize the impacts to the City side. These improvements exist and are operational today. BFI however is forced to realign the main access roadway due to plans already submitted for the proposed City/County expansion and so seeks to incorporate them with closure. Their argument that there has been damage to access roads stems not from unusual past storm events but from their illegal encroachment upon the waterway, their improper construction of roads, and their improper drainage in other areas of the City and the County. Their lack of proper engineering does not constitute a reason to destroy the streambed/wetlands now under consideration. It should be noted that BFI was ordered by Fish and Game to restore this same section of streambed/wetland when the old City landfill was operational. Currently there is a suit pending in the Court of Appeal against the City and BFI challenging the Mitigated Negative Declaration issued for the Closure Plan for some of these same reasons.
Historically, BFI has engaged in the destruction of wetlands without the proper permits. They have received citations for coming to close to the watercourse on the City side, and have also illegally destroyed stream/wetlands from a finger canyon on the City side. Currently, they are engaged in further destroying wetlands without permits on the City side by the diversion of water from the stream/wetlands by pumping contaminated water from the sedimentation basin located on the County side and not replacing it with clean water.
We believe that the granting of a permit is unwarranted and that to do anything to the streambed/wetlands to further degrade the habitat, or any alterations including the installation of the oversized sedimentation basin, are unnecessary at this time.
North Valley Coalition 11862 Balboa Blvd. #172 Granada Hills, CA 91344
Dear North Valley Coalition,
Hi! I am a student from Middlebrook School in Wilton, CT. We recently finished a project entitled, “Project Green Earth.” Our team, “The 7 Green Gators,” was split up into groups of four or five students of mixed gender. Each group researched and presented information about a problem that is hurting the environment. My group was assigned to research toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes. We learned what causes this problem and ways that it has tried to be stopped. We also learned about major waste areas around the world and especially in the USA. Our job was also to find solutions to our problem. After having a successful report and presentation, I found your website. I read how out in California you are also trying to put a stop to hazardous wastes and chemicals. California is a good place to have based your company for it is highly residential, has several large cities, and contains many landfills and dumps. This is why you have been selected to receive a donation.
Earlier in the year my team (7G) did a fundraiser. We sold t-shirts in order to raise money to help save the environment. Once we finished this project, everyone on the team voted for an organization to which we could donate a portion of our fundraiser money. After watching our presentation and having read a brief description about your organization, students selected your coalition with the most number of votes. We are pleased to be able to donate $350.00 dollars to your organization. Students and teachers on the 7G team care about the environment and want to make sure that everything possible is being done to protect our planet and save animals and habitats around the world. We thank you for being open to accept our donation. We all know it will go towards a good cause and hopefully be able to help you make a difference in our world.
Limited Authority and Weak Oversight Diminish Its Ability to Protect Public Health and the Environment
Audit Results Are In
I reviewed the California State Auditor’s report auditing the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) on the 176 active solid waste landfills. Some of the highlights are as follows:
The state auditors estimate that California has sufficient landfill capacity for about 47 years instead of the 15 years identified by local governments.
Since 1995, the CIWMB was between one month and four years late in performing inspections at 132 of the 176 landfills and only ONE monetary penalty has been assessed in the past TEN years! Further, as of August 31, 2000, local enforcement agencies issued 64 enforcement orders to 47 landfill operators and their analysis shows that for 43 of these enforcement orders, the operators have not complied by the deadlines and are overdue from 114 to 2,710 days.
The CIWMB is allowing landfill operators to delay closure for extended periods. As a result, they are bypassing federal and state closure regulations established to address the fact that landfills not property closed could threaten public heath and the environment. Among several conclusions and recommendations, the Auditor recommended that CIWMB explore its options for taking into account the necessity for increased landfill capacity as a factor in granting permits.
Further, that CIWMB discontinue the use of its 1994 policy of concurring with permit revisions for landfills that have had long-term violations of state minimum standards. The CIWMB should suspend its 1990 policy of allowing operators to violate the terms and conditions of their permits while seeking approval for permit revisions.
Finally, on page 34 of the report, it is stated to date, BFI has not submitted to the local enforcement agency or to the CIWMB, an application for a solid waste facilities permit for the city expansion” of Sunshine Canyon Landfill. I suggest you visit the above website or write to the California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits, 555 Capitol Mall, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95814 for five free copies.
Submitted by Sal Sciortino, NVC Member
The Audit was finally released on Dec. 11. And was published on the front page of the Daily News on Dec. 12. It is about 49 pages in length and is very much in our favor.
The dump began as an illegal operation in the mid 1950’s. The objection of neighbors forced the owners to legalize their facility. According to John O’Melveny, ranch owner of 19 years, a Mr. Visco, who operated under the name of Bentz Disposal made an application for a zone change and CUP under the name of North Valley Land Development Corporation to legalize the dump without notifying the adjacent landowners. These proceedings began May of 1957. The zone request was for an M3 from an A-I. The City Planning Commission on June 5, 1957 denied the CUP and Zone change in part, because “The proposed M3 zone would actually constitute a license to utilize the property for numerous obnoxious uses because of the unrestricted nature of the zone classification.” In the Commission report, the Air Pollution Control District stated: “We believe that the location of an area of M3 zoning in this vicinity would have highly adverse effects upon large portions of the San Fernando Valley from the standpoint of air pollution, and hence, is not desirable.”
The matter was appealed to Council and the report of the Planning Commission upheld. The corporation then sought a zone variance in 1958 under ZA Case No. 14544.
According to an agreement reached between John O’Melveny and the owners who are listed as Sunshine Canyon Inc., there were boundaries and conditions set to the operation of the dump on February 17, 1958.
On March 31, 1958 the Zoning Administrator amended the request and conditionally granted the variance on a temporary basis for a period of ten years.
In 1961, the owners returned to request a modification of the zone variance. The applicant found it a hardship to comply with three of the conditions. One of which was the restriction of certain types of rubbish. They could only accept rubbish from licensed haulers (mostly solid materials). The amended request was for wrapped garbage from the City and the general public. This garbage would now include what we know to be harmful on its own or when it is mixed with other garbage. This request was granted.
In September 1966, the operator applied for and was granted another variance. The testimony of the Zoning Administrator on May 17, 1966 at the appeals hearing (page 32 BZA Case No. 1672) reveals that the early application for an expanded site was due to the fact that the operators had exceeded their permitted elevations. The operators were issued a 25-year variance. The residential community across the street from the site vigorously protested to no avail. The community was gradually replaced by mixed industry and salvage operations.
In 1978 the City of Los Angeles prepared an environmental document with the intention of buying and expanding the dump. Community protest caused the City to abandon plans.
In 1978 BFI bought out the dump. Their property straddles the City/County line. They began taking far more trash than the amount indicated in the operating permit (3000 tons per day) and violated the operating hours set forth in the permit. BFI exceeded their elevations and went beyond their permitted boundaries into Significant Ecological Area #20. In so doing, they removed an oak woodlands without a permit. BFI encroached into the primary watercourse with trash and destroyed federally protected wetlands.
In 1988 due to increasing violations of the permit and conditions, and due to complaints from the residents living near the dump, Councilman Hal Bernson filed a revocation action. On September 1, 1988 the Zoning Administrator ruled in a decision that the operators had violated their permit by causing conditions that were materially detrimental to the surrounding community, by exceeding their prescribed elevations and their variance line, had come too close to the water course and Bradley Avenue, and operating too close to the ridgeline.
Through the ZA’s ruling and in the appeal process, new conditions were added to the permit. In an attempt to cure the violations BFI was ordered to request a Curative Variance (the only one ever granted by the City) to encompass the land they had illegally used. In addition, BFI was ordered to move operations to a northern canyon further from the residential area and nearer the I-5 Freeway. The violations were upheld through appeals to the City Council, and BFI significantly reduced the amount of trash taken in the final two years of the dump’s operation. The variance expired in September
Many of the conditions ordered by the Zoning Administrator were not complied with so that when the variance expired, BFI walked away from them telling the City that they had no power to enforce them.
Examples of the conditions ignored: A health study, ordered by John Parker in the Revocation Findings, Sept. 1, 1988.
Restoration of the water course, ordered under ZA case 17804 (PAD). Nov. 2, 1988, Condition #2C.
Replacing oaks in the north canyon, ordered under BZA Case No. 4336 and 4337.
Hiring an inspector to oversee closure, BZA Case No. 4484, Dec. 19, 1991, Condition #2. Providing an accurate survey, ZA89-1129.
At the last hearing before the BZA, after the dump had closed, BFI’s attorney testified: “When the variances expired, the Conditions expired.” The Board reached the conclusion that Condition #2 BZA Case No. 4484″… the conditions which apply to the landfill as a whole will continue to apply even though the variances which allowed the filling to take place have expired.” Condition #6 of that ruling states: “The requirement that the applicant pay the cost of having a city inspector monitor compliance with the variance conditions is necessary because the applicant at the board hearing stated an unwillingness to comply with several of the conditions.” Continuing: “The cost burden for such proposed willful noncompliance should be borne by the applicant not the public.” The inspector was never hired.
Closure plans were submitted for the City dump, but as of 2003 (12 years later) there is no closure.
By 1989, BFI produced for the County a Draft EIR for a 215 million ton landfill that would include that City and County.
The “initial phase” of the landfill was approved in 1991 with overriding considerations based on a trash crisis. This resulted in the destruction of a hardwood forest containing thousands of oaks. The North Valley Coalition filed suit and the EIR was vacated. The deficient parts of the EIR were recirculated and reapproved in 1993. The Coalition’s appeals were denied.
In June, 1994 the Department of Building and Safety issued an order to comply which stated that zoning variances had expired and all privately owned roads within the limits of the landfill property are considered an extension of the landfill. At the time of this order, BFI was preparing the County portion of their land for landfilling purposes, and the only access then and now is the road in the City portion of their land. The use of this road was again subject to the granting of a zone change or variance. BFI appealed the order to the Zoning Administrator who found that the Department Of Building and Safety had not erred in or abused its discretion in citing the operator.
December 1994, BFI again was denied access to the City road by the Board of Zoning Appeals and this decision was not appealable to the City Council.
January 1995, the Zoning Administrator approved a Variance to permit the use of the existing privately owned access road for the purposes of maintenance, monitoring, construction and refuse disposal.
February 1995, the entire action was appealed by the opponents and the Variance was again denied by the Appeals Board.
A June 1995 Letter to Councilman Hal Bernson reveals the sham transactions considered by BFI to begin using the agriculturally zoned property for landfill related activities even in the absence of a Variance. They considered dedicating portions of the A-1 zoned property to the County, and the County in turn, would allow BFI to use these portions for landfill related purposes.
Ultimately, BFI sued the City for not granting the Variance. The cost of the suit was for the monies lost by BFI over the expected life of the landfill. It went into the billions. The City succumbed to this threat and BFI got what they wanted. The County dump began operating on August 5, 1996.
The status of the dump after 1996: BFI requested permits to return to the City dump and build an expansion on top of the old dump. The old dump does not have a liner. If it is permitted, the idea is to build towards the County dump eventually creating a megadump by joining the two portions together.
The Zoning Administrator approved their request for a zone change. The land will be an M3 rather than an A-I.
The PLUM Committee (Planning and Land Use. Management). PLUM Committee approved the recommendations from Planning Department.
On February 23, 1996, County Counsel prepared Findings and Conditions for final action from the Board of Supervisors to modify Conditions of the previously issued Conditional Use Permit for the Sunshine Canyon Landfill. On July 6, 1999 the NVC received a copy of the modification. Condition # 10D was deleted. The Sanitation District prepared a document for the City Council on Disposal Options, a copy of which was received on January 20, 1999. On Page 6 of that document they lead the City to believe that Condition 10D is in effect. The Condition stipulates that if the expansion permit is denied by the City, the County will deny the City use of Sunshine Canyon for its trash, thereby leaving the City without a trash disposal site.
The Settlement Agreement between BFI and the City states that the City will be allowed to dump at the County landfill at Sunshine Canyon.
The City Council on December 8, 1999 approved by 8-7 the expansion of the landfill after several postponements.
On December 10, 1999, just two days later Mayor Richard Riordan signed the ordinance to expand the dump.
The North Valley Coalition filed a lawsuit against the City and BFI on January 11, 1999 under the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act challenging certification of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill Environmental Impact Report and approval of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill Project.
On July 22, 1999, a lawsuit against BFI was filed for diminution of property value and/or, any health problems attributed to Sunshine Canyon Landfill, by a number of homeowners in Granada Hills.
There is simply no shortage of places to put LA’s trash. In fact, many local and out-of-state companies are even now fighting for it and expending great sums on legions of lobbyists and swelling the campaign funds of politicians. All this to get our garbage.
Why would anyone want LA’s garbage, you might rightfully ask? The answer is that historically premiere motivator–money. Once more the smoke and mirror experts are again applying their craft, this time it’s to statistics. Now the waste giants, BFI (Allied Waste) and Waste Management are trying to show that the only way to save the City money is to keep on dumping at Sunshine Canyon and Bradley landfills. They have submitted unreliable and inaccurate numbers. But, as the Chief Analysts for the City, Ron Deaton who can put a spin on anything said: “It’s not as necessary to be right as it is to be definite.”
In the case of Sunshine Canyon, we were naively optimistic, believing that no one in their right mind would put a mega-dump directly adjacent to the largest water treatment and storage facility in the nation, or allow the destruction of an oak forest containing over 4000 “protected” oak trees. Unfortunately, we failed to recognize the power of money to corrupt a city, and to corrupt it absolutely. The phrase “trash crisis” was the invented by the industry to persuade us to believe that we would be sitting amid decaying crud, if their urban dump projects were not approved. Money flowed and approvals were issued. As for Bradley, the Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Task Force has weighed in and said that: “Bradley Landfill and the city of Los Angeles didn’t follow proper steps six years ago when the dump was given permission to raise its height 10 feet and slightly increase capacity.”
The sadder but wiser now, we invite you to see how we came to the revelation that there was no crisis and that alternatives abound. Shortly after Jim Hahn came into office, he appointed a Landfill Oversight Committee (LOC) to provide him with recommendations toward establishing a trash policy for LA. The mayor appointed a number of persons living near these landfills as part of that committee, to represent the people most impacted by them. We won’t go into the unfortunate plight of those who live near these creeping, cancerous monsters on the land, since such a description would take up an entire supplement to this paper. Suffice to say, we were more than eager to find alternatives which we at first assumed would be hard to find.
Surprisingly, we found these alternative technologies appeared to be abundant. Each week brought calls and visits from salesmen bearing video tapes and glossy folders, produced by companies who were anxious to take City trash and turn it into all sorts of useable products. They were even willing to build the necessary facilities at no cost to the City in return for: City support, a place to locate the facility, and a guaranteed wastestream. We asked hard questions about the environmental impacts, and many of these companies were more than willing to guarantee closed systems; systems that would not vent into the air the gases which are now constantly escaping into the air and/or are being incinerated at our landfills.
We were also astounded by the hundreds of recycling facilities that are already operational in the City, and who would be happy to expand operations, and to increase the diversity of the products they recycle. Some estimated that they could recycle more than 90% of the trash. We visited recycling plants and found some to be smelly and some to be clean. We slapped on sun-screen and visited remote sites, in desert locations to assure ourselves that they were far from people. Why, we wondered didn’t LA take advantage of these offers? Again the answer was money. Private haulers head for the cheapest dumps, not the recycleries where saving resources is a priority, and sorting makes it more expensive. Nothing will change this until fees are imposed on unrecycled trash, and the price of disposal by recycling leveled.
The LOC took their mandate seriously. Among the plans that the committee ultimately emerged with was to build in each of the six designated wasteshed areas of the city, a materials-recovery facility (MRF) and a transfer-station that would recycle all materials before rail-hauling any residual waste to remote locations far from people. The Mayor accepted the plan and the committee’s recommendation to close landfills in the City when its contracts expired in 2006. Now, some of the politicians are waffling. They opine that if everyone else is still going to send their trash to Sunshine, why shouldn’t we, since it’s so cheap. Their reasoning that doing the wrong thing is OK, because everyone else is going to do it, doesn’t hold up with any responsible parent, and shouldn’t reflect the ethics of our City.
Through recycling, rather than dumping, we will be able to save irreplaceable resources. This would ultimately save the costs of the cleanup of these landfills, whose incineration of gases compromises air quality, whose location poses a significant threat to the water supply, and which will continue to pollute decades after closure.
We want the City to stand firm in its resolve to build only transfer stations that have the capability of recycling all the trash before it is transferred. The City must locate these equitably throughout the city, so that no one area bears more than its share. The City should seek price-leveling by putting their current franchise fees only on unrecycled trash. And, oh yes, we want the 55% of L.A. that doesn’t recycle (apartments and commercial) be included into the citywide recycling program as soon as possible. When we lose, we lose forever our precious natural resources, and we throw away not only trash, but also our children’s heritage.
Wayde Hunter Granada Hills
-President North Valley Coalition -Environmental Affairs Commissioner City of Los Angeles -Member Mayor James Hahn’s Landfill Oversight Committee
THE DUMP AND THE WATER SUPPLY FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
The expansion of Sunshine Canyon Landfill above the cities of Granada Hills and Sylmar in the northeast San Fernando Valley is far from a local issue. What will happen if the highly contaminated leachate, produced by the landfill, finds its way into the water supply for a large part of Southern California?
It is a disturbing fact that the proposed expansion puts one of the largest landfillsin the country next to the largest water treatment facility in the United States.
BFI contends that the liner will keep leachate from reaching the water table. The EPA states categorically that all liners leak.
The old city dump is unlined. The city expansion will depend on a liner placed over an unstable mass, subject to settlement.
The County landfill liner, which was presented to the community as long-term protection has already been breached and is now leaking hydrogen sulfide into the subdrain.
Standing on the ridge of the old landfill, you look out over MWD’s treatment plant that wholesales water for 18,000,000 customers in the surrounding counties, and the DWP’s huge uncovered Los Angeles Reservoir that holds the already-treated water for most of L.A.
The water arriving from north, via the California Aqueduct is delivered to MWD through the Balboa Inlet Tunnel. This14 ft, tunnel was severely fractured during the last two earthquakes (San Fernando 1971, Northridge 1994). The southern boundary of the proposed expansion is only 500 ft. upstream from the tunnel. The State Water Resources Board wrote ominously:
“The top of the tunnel at its shallowest point lies approximately 25 feet below the surface. The depth to groundwater at the same location is on the order of 10 feet, or less. Dependent upon flow rate, the hydrostatic pressure-head in the tunnel is approximately 3 to 19 feet lower than the ground-water level. Under these conditions, groundwater may seep into the tunnel.”
Well contamination has been found at the site.
In the late 70’s, the City dropped a proposal to purchase the dumpsite, when the geologist pointed out that there was a connection through the alluvium between the dumpsite and the waters of the San Fernando Valley. In the environmental documents, BFI denied that any connection existed. This was done in spite of disclaimers issued by the geologists they had quoted.
Chemical and human-waste contaminate the hundreds of birds such as seagulls that forage through the dump, looking for food. After eating they go to the open reservoir to drink and float in the City’s treated-water supply.
Over 20 % of the “non toxic” municipal landfills are now Super-fund sites.
A report prepared by the California State Assembly Office of Research and the California State Assembly Natural Resources Committee (April 1988) states, in reference to Sunshine Canyon: “Prior to 1986, incoming loads were not regularly inspected for hazardous or inappropriate wastes and regulatory files indicate that chemical and petroleum products were disposed of at the, facility.”
Before the old city dump was closed, it took in 22,000 tons of digester cleanings, grit, and scum blanket from the city sewer treatment plants. Much of this was less than 50% solid and illegal for an unlined Class III dump. These untreated sewer products also contained heavy metals and pathogens.
The County dump also accepted 12,365 tons of these sewer products (grit and digester screenings), until it was discovered that they were too liquid to meet State Water standards.
Using the figures in the CITY SEIR, this dump, which accepts industrial waste and household hazardous waste, will put up to 154,000 pounds of toxic, or hazardous waste into the dump — each and every day. Increasing amounts of electronic waste now pose new hazards.
The landfill has accepted untreated medical waste, and buried in violation of the regulations.
If the City of Los Angeles continues on this collision course with disaster, its only source of clean water may one day be the tears of its weeping angels.