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California Appeals Court Upholds Expansion of Waste Connections Landfill

Article-California Appeals Court Upholds Expansion of Waste Connections Landfill

A California appeals court has ruled that an expansion of Waste Connections Inc.’s Potrero Hills Landfill in Solano County is environmentally sound, overturning a trial court decision.

The decision by the California Court of Appeal upholds the original decision of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission to approve the expansion of the landfill, which serves northern California. A local environmental group, the Sustainability, Parks, Recycling and Wildlife Legal Defense Fund, (SPRAWLDEF), challenged the permit on the grounds that it violates a Solano County local protection plan, according to the decision and one of the attorneys representing the landfill and The Woodlands, Texas-based Waste Connections in the case, James Slaughter of Beveridge & Diamond P.C., in an e-mail. In 2012 a Solano County Superior Court agreed and ruled against the commission’s decision.

In the reversal by the appeals court, it ruled that smaller alternatives to the expansion weren’t feasible, and that “the commission’s finding of no substantial [environmental] adverse impacts, as mitigated and modified after input from scientists and the community, is supported by substantial evidence.”

The ruling allows Waste Connections to add 260 acres to the landfill's existing 320-acre property, extending its lifetime by 35 years.

The decision provides a key precedent under the California Environmental Quality Act, Slaughter said, in terms of determining the economic infeasibility for project alternatives.

“Potrero Hills Landfill is pleased with today’s decision and looks forward to continuing to serve the disposal and recycling needs of northern California,” said

Jim Dunbar, manager of the Potrero Hills Landfill. “We’re grateful for the court’s close review of the record and that the court agreed that the commission’s work on the expansion project was thorough and reasonable.”

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