Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Battle over Kettleman Hills landfill expansion continues

On Wednesday night, the tug of war continued over the proposed expansion of the Kettleman Hills hazardous waste landfill near Interstate 5.

Activists protested at the California Department of Toxic Substance Control’s open house in Kettleman City. Among their complaints: Six people failed to get notification of the state’s proposal to allow expansion of the landfill.

As a result, state leaders extended the comment deadline from Sept. 4 to Oct. 7. But the Toxic Substance Control leaders said they had gone above and beyond the legal notification requirements.

The state agency said more than 630 people were notified, but six people who had asked for email notification apparently did not receive it. Officials said they agreed to the deadline extension because people had raised the issue.

Activists criticized Toxic Substance Control, including complaints about the agency not fully explaining past violations linked to the landfill. The activists, led by the People for Clean Air and Water and Greenaction, have said they will sue to stop the expansion.

The fight over the project heated up in 2008 after a tragic series of birth defects was discovered. Activists blamed the defects on “a toxic environment” surrounding Kettleman City.

Over the last few years, state and federal investigators conducted a thorough analysis and say they found no cause, adding there is no connection to the landfill.

Toxic Substance Control leaders say their study process on the issue was the most exhaustive in the agency’s history.

The agency has scheduled a public hearing in Kettleman City on Aug. 27.

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