Ma's bill would make it harder to resist big city trash

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Assemblymember Fiona Ma has thrown another curve ball at San Francisco’s already hotly contested plan to dispose trash in Yuba County: Ma recently introduced AB 1178 which would authorize a local agency to assess special fees, rather than local cities and counties. Currently, local cities and counties hold the authority to “assess special fees of a reasonable amount on the importation of waste from outside of the county to publicly owned or privately owned facilities.” And that’s exactly what Yuba County has been discussing in face of having San Francisco’s trash buried in its backyard, starting 2015.
Equally importantly, Ma’s bill seeks to prohibit a city, county, or local agency from otherwise restricting or limiting in any way the importation of solid waste into that city or county based on place of origin. And that's another topic that's been hotly debated in Yuba County as residents there have come to realize that their local dump will quickly get filled by San Francisco's big city trash--ultimately forcing Yuba County to export its own trash elsewhere in coming years.The rationale given in Ma’s bill for trying to amend the law to stop local municipalities from being able to restrict waste importation?

“Because ensuring adequate and appropriate capacity for disposal of solid waste is a matter of state and regional concern,” AB 1178 states.

So far there have been no votes on this bill, which was introduced in mid-February, and was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources on March 17, read and amended, then re-referred to the Committee on Natural Resources at the beginning of April.

But lest anyone doubts who is supporting or opposing this bill, an analysis of contributions undertaken by Maplight.org show that
a) supporters outspent the opposition by a ratio of 5:1. ($243,347 v $46, 165).
b) California Refuse Recycling Council, Recology Inc and Waste Connections, which would benefit from the legislation support the bill, and
c) the Sierra Club Solano County, Yuba Group Against Garbage, and Sustainability, Parks, Recycling and Wildlife Legal Defense Fund.

Maplight’s analysis also reveals that Ma received $5,000 from “interest groups that support” this bill.

And the Sacramento Bee has a detailed account of other municipalities, including Solano County, that stand to be impacted if Ma’s bill, which argues that decisions about how much trash goes where are better made at the state and regional level rather than by individual counties, endures. And the Sac Bee article includes a revealing quote from Ma spokesperson Nick Hardeman: "If every county decides to adopt ordinances that discriminate based on the waste's (origin), then the system breaks down," Hardeman said.

All this is coming to a head as the San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) is preparing to hold a hearing on its recently commissioned report examining how other municipalities handle their trash collection, consolidation and disposal process compared to San Francisco…The LAFCO hearing will be held at City Hall at 10 a.m. on Monday April 18.

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