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Simi Valley OKs expansion of landfill

May 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The city of Simi Valley has approved an expansion of a nearby landfill. In exchange, the company that owns the landfill would pay the city tens of millions of dollars to offset any negative impact.

The city gave the go ahead for Waste Management of California, Inc. to add 186 acres of waste disposal area to its landfill, bringing its total size to nearly 890 acres.

Even though the landfill is in Ventura County and services 60 percent of county residents and residents in West San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley is the host city because it is located closest to the landfill and would be impacted most by an expansion.

"I think it's definitely going to cause more air pollution, and it's just not great for our environment," said Simi Valley resident Valorteena Moir. "This area, especially, is concentrated with a ton of schools, and we have a lot of young kids that are here. It's going to add a negative effect to our community."

Other residents agreed.

"If we can make more things recyclable and reusable, then the landfill is obsolete in my opinion," said resident Joseph Coats.

In return for the yes vote, Waste Management of California, Inc. is offering the city of Simi Valley a 51-year, more than $90 million benefit package to address potential adverse impacts from the expansion.

The benefits include footing the bill for the city's street sweeping operations, taking over the city's Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program, providing the city $75,000 a year for law enforcement training and much more.

Officials with the waste management company said in addition to the benefits package, the company would expand the landfill in a direction further away from the city.

Mayor Bob Huber voted no to expanding the landfill.

"Myself and the other individual that voted against it essentially said...that we didn't feel the benefits outweighed the impacts on the community," said Huber.

City councilmembers who voted for the expansion were not available to speak with Eyewitness News.

The ultimate vote for or against expansion of the landfill rests with the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. The county is expected to vote early next week.

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