Initiative Papers Filed to Halt Imported Trash

From Times Staff Reports

Two residents announced plans Tuesday to put an initiative on the March 2002 ballot to halt the importation of trash to the three Orange County landfills.

San Juan Capistrano Mayor Wyatt T. Hart and Laguna Beach attorney Merritt McKeon filed a notice of intent at the registrar's office to qualify the Taxpayers Solid Waste Disposal Act of 2002.

To raise revenue after the county's 1994 bankruptcy, the Board of Supervisors voted to allow trash from four surrounding counties to be dumped at landfills in Brea, Irvine and San Juan Capistrano. Under the plan, the county has raised more than $90 million since 1995, and importation is to continue through 2015.

If voters approve the initiative, importation would end Jan. 1, 2003.

County Counsel Laurence M. Watson, whose office will have to review and summarize the measure for the ballot, would not comment Tuesday except to say the county has contracts with haulers that allow them to import trash beyond the measure's cutoff date.

County officials estimate that 3,400 tons of rubbish is trucked into Orange County every day.

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