On Monday, the members of the Regional Water Quality Control Board will be asked to make a momentous decision. As the last obstacle standing in the way of the county's desire to expand the San Marcos Landfill, it has been unwittingly put into the unenviable position of solving the trash crisis for the citizens of North County.
The RWQCB is state-mandated to protect ground water from degradation and to reverse present trends of increasing pollution. This mandate puts it directly at odds with the county, whose expansion plans will worsen existing contamination at the site.
The county has covertly manufactured this crisis in an attempt to thrust the trash incinerator project onto an unwilling majority. While it would have us believe that trash will be piling up in the streets if it doesn't get the required waste discharge permit from the RWQCB, the fact is that it is quietly sitting on 16 acres of fully permitted and immediately available landfill space.
It has craftily shifted the entire burden of waste management onto scapegoats like the RWQCB, who will be "damned if they do and damned if they don't" (issue a waste discharge permit). This kind of enormous pressure has no place other than with the county Board of Supervisors. Such crisis management ploys set a dangerous precedent and should not be rewarded.
The county Board of Supervisors should be held accountable for its inaction on this issue. And agencies like the RWQCB should be free to do their jobs without falling victim to the arm-twisting tactics employed by the county.
The RWQCB should concern itself only with the technicalities of the county's application regardless of its implications for trash disposal in North County--that is not its problem.
It is mandated to protect our resources and to heed the advice of its technical staff, which recommends decisively that the RWQCB prohibit the vertical expansion of the San Marcos Landfill.
PATRICIA MACK NEWTON, Elfin Forest Coalition