A bill that paves the way for a proposed $66-million trash-to-energy project in Long Beach cleared its first hurdle Wednesday in the Senate Local Goverment Committee on a 4 to 0 vote.
The bill was sent to the Appropriations Committee, which backers hope will pass the measure and send it to the Senate floor next week.
If passed by the Senate and Assembly and signed by Gov. George Deukmejian, the measure would take effect immediately.
Sen. Ralph Dills (D-Gardena), whose district covers part of Long Beach and who introduced the proposal, said the bill is necessary to break a political logjam in which the project has been caught up.
He was referring to the action of the state Waste Management Board that has blocked the project. Last month the board refused to grant final approval for the plant because Los Angeles County has failed to update its waste management plan.
"I don't think we should hold this (the plant) hostage," said committee member Sen. Ruben Ayala (D-Chino).
Instead, the committee, in effect, said that the plant, officially known as the Southeast Resource Recovery Facility, could proceed as if it had the required permit from the state.
The plant is a joint project of the City of Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Sanitation District.
It is to be located on Terminal Island and would burn about 600 tons of refuse a day to produce electricity that would be purchased by Southern California Edison Co. Enough electricity would be generated for 18,000 households a day.
Bill Davis, the project manager, said Long Beach was about to seek bids to build the project when the Waste Board took its action.
"We're stopped dead," said Davis, estimating that each day of delay is adding $11,200 in construction and financing costs. The plant was scheduled to begin operations in 1988.