Assemblymember Alejo Opposes Kettleman Hills Expansion

luis alejo


For Immediate Release
October 10, 2013

 Contact: Marva Diaz
(916) 319-2030 

Assemblyman Alejo Opposes Expanding Toxic Waste Disposal in Kettleman Hills

(SACRAMENTO) —Today Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D, Salinas) called on the California Department of Toxics Control to reject the plan to expand the toxic waste disposal site near the San Joaquin Valley Community of Kettleman City.  In a letter to the State Agency, Alejo voiced his concern over the failure of the State to address issues of environmental justice and the need to find alternatives to land disposal of toxic waste.

Assemblymember Alejo is the Chairman of the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee and has been active in addressing the problems of toxic chemical exposure in disadvantaged communities throughout California.

In his comments on the proposed Kettleman Hills permit Alejo said, “As the Chairman of the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, I have a number of serious concerns regarding the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) actions at the Kettleman Hills Hazardous Waste Facility and must oppose the proposed facility expansion.  The operation of this hazardous waste landfill has both statewide importance and an immediate effect on the surrounding community.  Our management of hazardous waste and how we protect our poorest members of society in rural communities reflects on all of us as a state.”

Joining Alejo in voicing opposition to the proposed facility was Ingrid Brostrom, a senior attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, “In an area of such high vulnerability and so may unexplained health issues, it is simply unacceptable for DTSC to issue this permit.”

The State of California is considering a permit modification to expand the Chemical Waste Management Kettleman Hills Facility landfill unit, which sits three and a half miles southwest of Kettleman City. The permit modification, if approved, will increase the amount of hazardous waste Chemical Waste Management can place at the landfill. This modification adds about 14 landfill acres and increases the capacity by approximately 5 million cubic yards.   The effect of this expansion would add an estimated 4.6 billion pounds of toxic waste to this Kings County site. The deadline for public comments on the proposed permit closes on Friday, October 11, 2013.

The key objections raised by Assemblyman Alejo included:

  • The DTSC did not mitigate the potential effects on the community from the additional environmental burden on the community nor has it adequately considered the potential cumulative environmental effects on the people of Kettleman City.
  • The permitting process has failed to provide a useful review or consideration of the needed state capacity for hazardous waste disposal in California. Permitting new hazardous waste facilities is not a long-term and sustainable way to protect the public and our environment.

“The people who live in Kettleman City have suffered enough and done their share since the disposal site was opened in 1975”, said Alejo. 

Luis Alejo represents the 30th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of the Salinas Valley, Monterey County, San Benito County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County.