Recently we received word from our state officials of a temporary closure of the Casmalia Resources Toxic Waste Facility in the Santa Maria Valley until regulations could be met. Although this should have been comforting news to the citizens of that community, their bubble was soon burst by the owner of the facility when he stated that he felt he could comply with all new regulations before the deadline, which would allow him to remain open.
The citizens of this community continue to question the state for several reasons. First, the state has failed to prove that this facility is safe for this community (they continue to place the burden of proof on the citizens). Second, there have been no improvements made to find a better solution for the disposal of toxic waste. Third, the costs for the cleanup of toxic waste facilities and the relocation of toxic waste put an enormous burden on the taxpayer, and these figures will continue to rise in the future.
These concerns are not unique to the Santa Maria Valley, but affect every person in the state, as we are all responsible for paying the cost for cleanup. We must continue to write to our officials in an effort to find a safer and more practical solution to this problem of toxic hazards. Our future and our children's future may depend on our actions in this matter.
Lilygren is vice president of Parents Against Casmalia Resources.