The Antelope Valley has been called a lot of things--a cultural wasteland, a developer’s paradise, the methamphetamine capital of Los Angeles County--but a dump?
That’s how the San Diego County city of El Cajon views the area--as a perfect place to haul its trash and save money in the process.
Rallying to the defense of his district, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich introduced an emergency motion Tuesday that would temporarily ban the importation of trash from outside the county to any landfill in the Antelope Valley. That would give the County Board of Supervisors 45 days to hold public hearings on the matter before considering a permanent ban.
“When you consider that the 10 million citizens of Los Angeles County won’t have landfill space through the next decade, to further aggravate the situation by importing more just doesn’t make any sense,” Antonovich said.
But El Cajon officials are equally adamant. Beginning July 1, they hope to start hauling 12 truckloads of trash a day 160 miles north to the privately owned Lancaster Landfill. They’ll pay a tipping fee of $40 a ton, or $25 less than in San Diego County.
“We will continue to move forward on this” regardless of the board’s action, said El Cajon City Manager Bob Acker in a telephone interview Tuesday. “We certainly think the law against restraint of trade is on our side.”
County attorneys concurred, saying that a ban might not withstand a legal challenge. After Supervisor Ed Edelman pointed out that the county eventually plans to ship some of its trash by rail to neighboring San Bernardino County, the board decided to study the matter for two weeks before voting.
Officials with Waste Management Inc., which operates the Lancaster Landfill, said the 75,000 tons that El Cajon plans to dump annually is infinitesimal compared to the county’s daily trash haul of 40,000 tons. Under a county permit, the landfill can accept trash from anywhere as long as the total does not exceed 1,000 tons a day.
Vowed Noreen Cade, a Lancaster resident who testified before the board: “The people of the Antelope Valley will not allow the desert to become a dumping ground.”