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Hacienda Heights : Landfill Expansion Rejected

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Gov. Pete Wilson on Monday vetoed a bill that would have put more green space between Hacienda Heights residents and the planned expansion of the Puente Hills landfill.

“It’s really unfortunate he chose to ignore the concerns of local residents, many of whom voted for him,” said Assemblywoman Hilda L. Solis (D-El Monte), author of the bill. Solis’ bill required an expanded Puente Hills landfill to operate no closer than 2,000 feet from Hacienda Heights homes--an extra buffer of 250 feet.

“We were not surprised by the decision,” said Theresa Dodge, an engineer for the County Sanitation Districts, which run the landfill.

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The governor followed the advice of the California Integrated Waste Management board, which oversees landfills in the state, she said. The board voted to oppose the bill in August. The landfill operators maintain that the bill would have cost county residents millions of dollars because trash would have to go to more expensive dumps.

The Sanitation Districts, a grouping of representatives from many of the county’s cities, got the go-ahead in July from the County Board of Supervisors to expand the landfill east to within 1,750 feet of Hacienda Heights homes and schools. Supervisors also allowed the landfill, scheduled to close Nov. 1, to operate to the year 2003.

Last month, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, hearing a legal challenge by homeowners, said a required environmental study of the landfill expansion was inadequate. Judge Diane Wayne is expected to issue instructions Oct. 26 on how to fix the study and whether to close the landfill temporarily.

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