Toxics Regulator Slaps Polluted Communities in Face with OK to Expand Kettleman City Hazardous Waste Dump

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SANTA MONICA, CA –The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) used a bogus excuse—the promise of cutting the hazardous waste the state produces in half by 2025—to preliminarily approve Chemical Waste Management’s expansion of its hazardous waste landfill at Kettleman City, Consumer Watchdog said today.
“Based on this company’s terrible record of repeated violations of hazardous waste laws, the DTSC should have denied Chemical Waste Management a new permit, period,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker. The DTSC recently fined the company $300,000 when it could have fined the company $1.8 million for 72 spills of hazardous waste over a four-year period. The company’s history of violations includes a settlement with the DTSC and CAL EPA for $1 million for not properly treating waste before disposal for five years.
“The DTSC claims that tough permit conditions—including a clean truck fleet to bring hazardous waste to the landfill—will protect the public,” said Tucker. “These so-called clean trucks will still emit carcinogens. The appearance of birth defects, leukemia and other illnesses has to do with cumulative effects from widespread contamination of air, water, and soil, which the state itself admits makes Kettleman City among the top ten most vulnerable communities in the state.”
The DTSC used the granting of a draft permit to Chemical Waste Management to announce a year-long “dialogue” with Californians about making the management of hazardous waste in the state more “equitable” in terms of locating hazardous waste landfills in working class, minority communities. “Tying the two things together is disingenuous and unrealistic,” Tucker said. “The DTSC has poured millions into an initiative to make consumer products safer with precious little to show for it so far.” Tucker said the DTSC should perform its core mission, which is to protect communities from toxic harm, first. “They should find another company to operate that existing dump and think about where responsible companies can build new ones that are far from people.”
For more on Kettleman City see:

For more on DTSC’s failures see:
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John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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