Ventura County should widen its search for a landfill site to include the central county and the Santa Clara River Valley, Supervisor Susan Lacey said Tuesday.
The county is studying the potential effects on the environment of only two sites, both north of Ventura. Those two sites, Weldon Canyon and Hammond Canyon, are both just east of Highway 33 off Canada Larga Road.
But area environmentalists and the city of Ojai, which is north of the two sites, strongly oppose the use of either canyon as a landfill. Lacey, whose district includes western Ventura County, said the county should open its search to new areas.
"I think we need as many options out there as we can possibly have," Lacey said.
Since the 1985 Solid Waste Management Plan divided the county into three so-called "waste sheds," the county has limited its options to the "western waste shed." That area includes areas surrounding the cities of Ojai, Ventura, Port Hueneme and Oxnard, which would use the landfill.
The 1985 plan chose Weldon Canyon north of Ventura as the preferred site, with neighboring Hammond Canyon as the second choice.
Supervisor Maggie Erickson, who represents the Santa Clara River Valley and areas surrounding the cities of Fillmore and Santa Paula, said she would oppose sending trash from the west out to the central county.
"They have already provided for themselves out there with the Toland Road Landfill," Erickson said.
Robert Laughlin, a supervisor in the county Planning Division, said it could cost too much to haul trash farther east than Weldon Canyon.
But Russ Baggerly, a member of the board of the Environmental Coalition, said air pollution problems could be reduced by shipping trash by train along the Southern Pacific Railroad line between Ventura and Fillmore.