Honorable Santa Clara County Recycling and Waste Reduction Commissioners, Division Staff and TAC members,
I am writing on behalf of Milpitas REACH, a grassroot movement advocating to stop Newby Island Landfill expansion for past 2 years. Over 23,000 have signed our “Stop Landfill Expansion” petition.
As you may already be aware, if the expansion is approved, Newby Island will rise to an unprecedented 245 feet above MSL, extending the life of what is already the largest landfill ever built along San Francisco Bay through 2041 in a densely populated and environmentally sensitive area with protected wildlife.
Due to recurring public nuisance and regulatory violations at the site including over 30 violations from 4 regulatory agencies in past 2 years, we feel strongly that the expansion project will be detrimental to the lives of 100,000 people who work and live in its immediate vicinity.
Unfortunately, City of San Jose Planning Staff issued a report last Friday and concluded that recurring violations are insignificant, even when 20 BAAQMD violations have not been formally resolved. The staff had recommended landfill expansion permit to be approved at the October 26 Planning Commission meeting, which I believe is irresponsible in light of open and recurring violations.
I am writing to seek your help with respect to your role in driving sustainable and responsible waste management plan for the region.
In the 4th Five-Year Review of the CIWMP, it is clearly stated that there is excess landfill capacity over what is required even without Newby Island expansion, as follows:
“Newby Island Landfill currently accepts about 60% of the County’s waste and has listed 5-7 years site life is currently undergoing a permit process for expansion. If the expansion goes through, then the site life will be extended to 20-25 years. If the expansion is denied, the calculation estimates splitting the material among the remaining two landfills within the County. The volume of material to each site would almost double their current volume which would decrease the site life by half. This reduction would be estimated at 20 some years which is greater than the 15 years for a Siting Element revision. ”
Since options are available, can you offer support by writing to San Jose Planning Staff and Commission to re-evaluate project alternatives, including tapping into regional landfill capacity and prioritizing waste diversion through non-disposal facilities, before urban landfills, such as Newby Island, are expanded any further?
Your assistance is much appreciated.