Letter from Congressman Mike Honda

Here’s an email response I received from Congressman Mike Honda (17th district).

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Congressman Mike Honda
Date: Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 7:47 AM
Subject: Re: San Jose’s Republic’s Newby Island Landfill is Polluting Milpitas

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about the Newby Island Landfill and the odor problems that affect the area. I understand how pervasive the odor problem is and that it will soon become more pronounced as the weather becomes warmer.

As you know, the Newby Island Landfill on Dixon Landing Road receives and processes waste materials from businesses in the City of San Jose and from residences in about a dozen cities around Northern California. While the original plans for the landfill have it scheduled to close in 2025, the operator of the landfill, Republic Services, has applied to expand the landfill by increasing its height by 95 feet and allowing it to remain open until January 2041.

I share your concerns that the proposed expansion could have a serious impact on your community. Residents like yourself from Milpitas, North San Jose, and South Fremont have long voiced complaints about odors entering the community that impact your quality of life.

That is why I am pleased that the San Jose Planning Commission has delayed its decision about the project’s permit until an independent odor study can be completed. This study is expected to be completed in late April or early May of this year. It is important to have an independent study in addition to the one undertaken by Republic Services so the Planning Commission can know that the results are not biased.

I have also heard that residents have been calling the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to report complaints, and I applaud these efforts, as the BAAQMD is the government office that is able to take direct action on this issue. Because of the community’s work, the BAAQMD has issued Public Nuisance Violations to both the Newby Island Landfill and Recyclery. These official notices of violation allow for legal action to be taken against air polluters under California state law.

It is important to note that the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility has also received a Notice of Violation. In addition to Newby Island, other facilities nearby, like the Wastewater Facility, Zanker facilities, and the local salt ponds and wetlands, may add to the problem, and we must make sure that all odor sources are addressed in finding a long-term solution to this problem.

At the federal level, I asked the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to have his agency join these efforts. The FWS can lend its considerable expertise with environmental protection and management to suggest additional mitigation measures that odor generators may employ to mitigate the nuisance. The FWS has joined the South Bay Odor Stakeholder Group and has installed sensors to monitor natural odor sources as part of the independent odor study.

My desire is to ensure that a thorough and independent odor study be completed and that all potential odor sources are addressed in order to ensure a long-term solution to this problem. The City of Milpitas and my constituents deserve their quality of life, and Newby Island and other potential odor generators in the area need to do what is necessary to mitigate their impacts on the community.

Please continue to report odors as soon as they are detected to the BAAQMD by calling 1-800-334-6367(ODOR). It is important to report odors as soon as possible on each day that the problem is observed so that an inspector from the BAAQMD can promptly be dispatched to the area to investigate. Through this process, we can officially document cases and gather the evidence we need to fully address this issue.

You can be sure that I will remain engaged in this process and give voice to the concerns of my constituents in Milpitas and surrounding areas. Thank you again for contacting me.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.