SOURCE: Grundman Law

March 16, 2016 16:43 ET

Proposed Expansion of Controversial Composting Facility Raises Safety & Health Concerns

Recology Proposal at Lamont Facility With Troubled History Calls for Increased Diesel Trucks and Food Waste From Los Angeles Triggers Opposition From Local Coalition -- Retains Attorney Andrew Grundman

ARVIN, CA--(Marketwired - March 16, 2016) - According to Andrew Grundman, spokesperson for Coalition for a Clean Kern County, the operators of California's largest composting facility where two brothers died tragically in a worksite accident is seeking to expand its operations with the County of Kern. "Coalition members consider the proposed expansion insulting given Kern County's 2011 closure of the facility following the brothers' deaths and a recent change of ownership from Crown Disposal to Recology -- a company with its own troubled past in Southern California," said Grundman.

"The Blossom Valley Organics composting facility has a long history of environmental, health and safety violations that has plagued both its workers, the residents living in the rural communities surrounding the site, and the county on whole," said Andrew Grundman, spokesman and attorney representing concerned residents. "The County, in accepting this application, is acting as though a change in ownership from Crown to Recology will erase the historical and ongoing problems at the facility. We've seen no greater oversight, no greater safety enforcement, and no overall changes that will lead us to believe that this expansion will not have harmful impacts on the greater community." 

Recology purchased Crown Disposal's operations in late 2014. It is believed that Recology made the purchase to gain a stronger foothold in the Southern California market, as it is now competing for the Los Angeles waste contract. Recology, however, which changed its name in 2009 from NorCal Waste Systems, is a company with a myriad of corruption charges and backroom dealings in San Bernardino County, San Jose, and San Francisco. The culmination of dealing with a new operator with a troubled past in an area with some of the worst air quality in the United States is forcing local residents to draw a line in the sand.

"The majority of residents in this area are low to moderate income Latino households, who for years have experienced environmental racism and injustice. The County admits that the property has been detrimental to the public health after years of violations including odor, trash, flies, etc., so why allow the operators -- new or old -- to pursue an expansion that will, amongst many other things, increase truck traffic and increase solid food waste from Los Angeles County," continues Mr. Grundman. "If Recology is allowed to expand this facility, then Kern County is no better than Kings County with Waste Management's toxic waste landfill outside of Kettleman. It's been asked before a hundred times but worth asking again: How many people must die? How many people must suffer before we say enough is enough?"

Recology's requesting land use entitlements that would require an Amendment to the Kern County General Plan, as well as a modification of Conditional Use Permit 27 to allow for: 1) installing an aeration system; 2) expanding the amount and source of food waste accepted; 3) accepting digestates and biosolids; 4) removing the feedstock tonnage limits and replacing it with an overall tonnage limit; 5) expanding the CUP boundary; 6) allowing sorting and grinding of an estimated 10% of feedstock; 7) allowing wood mulching and coloring; and, 8) increasing the limit of outgoing trucks to 150 trucks per day. The County of Kern is currently seeking Requests for Proposals (RFP) to conduct and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Recology Blossom Valley Organics - South Project.

Grundman Law is a "boutique" law firm located in the heart of Old Sacramento. We provide legal service and practical guidance to a diverse array of clients ranging from public companies to non-profit organizations. 

Attachment Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2016/3/15/11G087740/Letter_to_Kern_Planning_(Murphy)-c0b8c6d165059c0d96ba1be9c35e0cd8.pdf
Attachment Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2016/3/15/11G087740/lamont-f60082586516adb083df1b281f633833.pdf

Contact Information

  • CONTACT: 
    Andrew Grundman, ESQ.
    Coalition for a Clean Kern County  
    (916) 273-4811
    Email contact