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Valley Public Radio Staff
Wed March 27, 2013
Community Recycling Asks For New Permit, Environmental Study
Residents in the Kern County community of Lamont are meeting this evening to discuss the future of a controversial recycling and compost facility.
Community Recycling wants the county to modify its existing Conditional Use Permit to authorize processing food and green waste, byproducts from composting, and drywall.
The facility has a history of code and land use violations, and environmental groups have called it a major source of pollution.
Ingrid Brostrom of the Center for Race Poverty and the Environment says her group opposes the project, and wants the facility to close.
"We think it sets a very dangerous precedent for a companies to be found in violation, and rather being held accountable for those violations, simply to give them permission to do those violations in the future. We think it's tantamount to basically asking for forgiveness than permission, before the fact," says Brostrom.
In October 2011, two employees at the facility died after inhaling toxic gas while cleaning a compost drainage pipe. Cal-OSHA later fined the company over $150,000 and the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to revoke the plant's operating permit. But a Superior Court judge issued an order allowing the company to continue operations while it develops a new Environmental Impact Report.
Members of the public have until April 3rd to submit comments about the scope of the environmental study.