Hacienda Heights : Waste-Plant Change Asked

The Hacienda Heights Improvement Assn. has asked the board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District to overrule a staff decision that would make it easier for the county Sanitation Districts to build waste-to-energy plants at the Puente Hills landfill.

At issue is whether the Sanitation Districts must compensate for certain air pollutants that would be emitted by the plants by buying “offsets,” expensive, hard-to-obtain transferable rights to emit pollutants.

The Sanitation Districts filed applications late last year with the air quality district to build two plants at Puente Hills that each would burn 2,000 tons of trash a day to create electricity. The applications were filed shortly before the expiration of a state law that said waste-to-energy plants of the size proposed at Puente Hills could be built without offsets if a “good-faith effort” had been made to obtain them.

The appeal filed by the Hacienda Heights Improvement Assn. claims that the Sanitation Districts’ permit applications for Puente Hills should not have qualified for the “good faith” exemption because they were filed without the final environmental impact report required by the district’s rules. The homeowners group asked the AQMD to hold a hearing on this issue.


Meanwhile, in a related matter, the AQMD will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. Friday to determine whether waste-to-energy plants must meet the offset requirements in effect at the time an application is filed or when the permit is issued. The Hacienda Heights homeowners group will urge that the later requirement apply.