* Opposition to the dumping at Pierce College Farm is not based on opposition to the Warner Ridge project as you reported Aug. 15. Supporters of Pierce College Farm are concerned about the proposed fill project’s potential financial risk to taxpayers and the impact on the future of the college’s agricultural and environmental education programs.
The developer of the Warner Ridge project has clearly stated publicly and in the Warner Ridge environmental impact report that the excavated dirt will be hauled to a landfill if the college is unable to accept it. Saying no to the developer will not harm this project. The college, on the other hand, could be harmed by the deposit of 425,000 cubic yards of fill dirt on its farmland.
Each step of the compaction process for fill dirt is complicated and susceptible to human error, which increases the potential for slope failure. Every fill project that has failed, as many have, had an approved EIR and passed inspection by the city, county or state agency having permitting authority. There are no guarantees when it comes to compacted fill.
The college administration’s assertion that it needs fill dirt on its hills to stop drainage problems is confusing for two reasons:
1. The primary flooding does not come from the hills, but from a Los Angeles County flood control easement originating in the Carleton Terrace residential area.
2. The other flooding problems could be controlled by alternative methods, such as wetlands, which benefit the environment and educational programs. It appears the college administration is willing to accept money in exchange for a massive amount of fill dirt whose “need” is questionable and potentially harmful.
Lastly, the college administration claims it knows of no other source of funding to balance its budget, yet does not mention the money it will receive for the tie-back easement needed by the Warner Ridge project. How much is the easement worth and how will the money received be used?
Murman is president of the Coalition to Save Pierce College Farm.