From what I hear, one Sonoma County supervisor, Shirlee Zane, may vote against selling the landfill on Mecham Road at today’s meeting. But it’s not clear there’s a second vote out there to block this controversial sale. (The supervisors need at least four votes to sell this public asset. The vote is planned for sometime around noon.)

 

But here’s one of the main reasons you can expect the board to go ahead with selling the dump to Arizona-based Republic Services: The county is out of time to do anything else.

 

State officials have made it clear that Sonoma County either needs to move forward “immediately” with the sale or begin closing the landfill this year. In a letter dated Oct. 23, the head of the state Integrated Waste Management Board made it clear that the state officials are tired of Sonoma County’s “protracted process” (read: waffling) on whether to sell or reopen the landfill, which essentially stopped accepting waste four years ago but has not been formally closed.

 

“We further reiterate that any rejection of the divestiture (sale) premised on the future reopening of the facility by the county would in no way change the requirement that all closure activities must proceed forthwith, including the placement of final cover across the entire facility,” wrote Scott Walker, a staff member who overseas landfill closures.

 

Translation: If the county opts not to sell, it will have to close the landfill (a very costly process) before reopening it (another very costly and bureaucratic process.)

And you thought government was trying to be more careful with its time and money.

 

This is not only crazy, it would force the county to continue trucking its garbage as far as Alameda County and Solano County.

So exactly how is this helping the environment – or serving taxpayer interests?

 

– Paul Gullixson