A Sustainable Vision for Santa Barbara: Alternatives to the Tajiguas Landfill Expansion 

Time is running out!  The County of Santa Barbara is proposing a dangerous expansion of the Tajiguas Landfill, threatening the Gaviota Coast’s fragile ecosystem and our community’s health.

The current expansion proposal for the Tajiguas Landfill represents a missed opportunity.

Santa Barbara County deserves a better answer.

Instead of prioritizing a short-term solution with long-term consequences, we advocate for a multi-pronged approach that promotes environmental protection, responsible resource management, and fiscal accountability.

Why We Oppose the Expansion:

  • Environmental Harm: The expansion increases the landfill’s footprint upward and outward, disturbing critical habitats for endangered species like the Crotch’s Bumblebee and California Red-legged frog. It also threatens rare plants like the Santa Barbara Honeysuckle and California Brittlebush scrub. The expansion perpetuates decades of environmental harm to sensitive coastal areas and citizens, including Pila Creek, Baron Ranch, Arroyo Hondo, and the Arroyo Quemada neighborhood.
  • Unmet Diversion Goals & Public Health Concerns: Despite promises of diverting 60% of organic waste, the current ReSource Center is failing miserably. Its actual diversion rate is only 31.35%, exhausting landfill capacity and leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and intolerable odors from poorly processed organic waste.
  • Financial Burden on Ratepayers: The expansion is a costly Band-Aid solution. The underperforming ReSource Center has already cost ratepayers an estimated $250 million, and the expansion won’t fix its problems.
  • Lack of Transparency: The County needs to be upfront about the ReSource Center’s failures and the true costs of the expansion. We deserve regular reports on finances and operations to ensure responsible decision-making.

Our Vision:

  • Protect Sensitive Ecosystems: Establish conservation easements on unprotected areas of the landfill property and adjacent Baron Ranch, creating a wildlife corridor, mitigating impacts to and safeguarding endangered species.
  • Fix the ReSource Center: The County’s investment in the ReSource Center has fallen far short of expectations. Despite a hefty $250 million price tag, it continues to divert roughly the same amount of waste as before its construction. This is unacceptable.

We need a solution that prioritizes public health and environmental well-being. Implementing source-separated waste streams is crucial. This system keeps different waste types separate, allowing for cleaner and more efficient processing. The result? Higher quality compost and fewer harmful emissions impacting residents of Arroyo Quemada and visitors to Arroyo Hondo and Baron Ranch.

The County must fix the ReSource Center now. It’s time to stop wasting ratepayer money and start creating a responsible waste management system that protects our community and environment.

  • Establish Transparency and Independent Oversight: The current management of the Landfill and ReSource Center lacks transparency and accountability. We deserve to know how our waste is being handled and where our dollars are going.
    • Regular Public Reporting: The County must publish clear and accessible reports on the ReSource Center’s performance and finances. This will allow residents to track its progress and identify areas for improvement.
    • Independent Oversight Committee: An independent committee of solid waste experts should be established. This committee will provide unbiased recommendations on how to improve the ReSource Center’s efficiency, effectiveness, and environmental impact. By demanding transparency and independent oversight, we can ensure the ReSource Center operates in the best interests of our community and environment.

This comprehensive approach:

  • Minimizes environmental impact
  • Promotes long-term sustainability
  • Reduces reliance on landfills
  • Saves ratepayer dollars
  • Creates a cleaner, healthier community

Take Action for a Sustainable Future!

  1. Submit your written comments by noon on March 15th: Express your opposition to the expansion and demand better solutions. Email your comments to sbcob@countyofsb.org
  2. Attend the Public Hearing on March 19th: Make your voice heard in person! The hearing will be held at 105 E. Anapamu, Santa Barbara, or virtually via Zoom (when available information will be posted on the Board’s agenda page found here.
  3. Stay Informed: Get updates and access project documents on the Board’s agenda page: (when available information will be posted on the Board’s agenda page found here.
  4. The Full Environmental Impact Report can be found here.

Protect Our Coast Now! Together, we can minimize the effects of this harmful expansion and create a more sustainable future for Santa Barbara County!

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