The Bee published an editorial arguing that the decision regarding Kettleman Hills was "long overdue." Kettleman City is one of the most overburdened communities in California as identified by the state itself. Residents in Kettleman City suffer cumulative health impacts from several sources including diesel emissions along Highway 5, poor water quality, pesticide use, and this violation-plagued facility.
To issue this permit modification, the state relied on flawed data collected through a flawed process that successfully limited community information and participation. The DPH health study was admittedly recorded when the facility was operating at less than 5% capacity, and captured emissions at that level rather than during 100% capacity operations. This study, also, did not collect any sampling of residents and instead simply collected questionnaires from them.
Kettleman City does have contaminated water, but the state has an independent responsibility for providing clean water for all residents. Clean water should not be used as ransom for approving landfills. California has a waste generating problem and we should all reduce the amount of waste we produce, but it's incorrect to disproportionately burden rural, low-income, minority communities with those materials -- something that has traditionally been done in the state -- and is the case here.