Pressure Mounting on Tajiguas Landfill

Santa Barbara County is in a bind with the Tajiguas Resource Recovery Project (TRRP). They discovered that the coastal zone map they had been using was the wrong one, and that the existing Tajiguas Landfill is actually already infringing on the coastal zone, and even worse, that the planned new anaerobic digester and sorting facility (to be housed in two large Costco-sized buildings) are partly sited in the zone and now the digester needs to be relocated, adding further expense to an already astronomically expensive project. They have an optimistic view of the situation on Edhat.

Marc_Chytilo_OpEd_in_Edhat_8-23-17.pngGaviota Coast Conservancy legal counsel Marc Chytilo submitted an OpEd on this Tajiguas issue, also to Edhat. "The Tajiguas Resource Recovery Project (TRRP) involves $120M of trash processing machines housed in two Costco-sized buildings, one on top of the Tajiguas Landfill and the other on Baron Ranch. Interest on proposed County bonds totals at least $80M, for a total project cost of at least $200M. Residential trash rates are estimated to increase by 50% over the next decade to pay for the TRRP and the coastal zone blunder; some estimate the rate increases will be much higher. The Goleta City Council will hold a hearing on September 5 to hear from the public whether to raise trash rates by over 17%, in large part to pay for the TRRP. Most significantly, the TRRP will squander the potential to reduce greenhouse gases through carbon farming (a practice referenced in the Paris Climate Agreement that sequesters atmospheric carbon in the soil)."

"State law will effectively ban disposal of organic waste to landfills in a few years. This organic waste (kitchen and food scraps from grocery stores, schools, hotels and restaurants) is a highly valuable input for the creation of high-quality compost that can be used in “carbon farming” to sequester carbon into the soil and increase local agricultural productivity. The TRRP would instead process the organic waste in an anaerobic digester, extracting a trivial portion of the carbon as methane that would be burned to generate electricity and the carbon returned to the atmosphere."

"The TRRP’s 'digestate' cannot be made into high-quality compost and is unsuitable for use on food crops. Carbon farming yields years of carbon sequestration benefits, versus a one-time minor reduction in the type of carbon emitted to the atmosphere. In proposing the TRRP, the County rejected viable alternatives that would have less cost, fewer impacts, and move towards Zero Waste goals that many other local governments have adopted throughout the Country. We can do better!"

The Next hearing on the revised project will be on September 5 at the Goleta city Council, where rate increases of 17.76% are needed to fund the TRRPPlease attend the Hearing if you can, email and speak out for Gaviota Coast and against the expanded industrialization of this biodiversity hotspot.