SANTA BARBARA — Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley on Friday called for the shutdown of the controversial Casmalia dump, citing it as an example of Gov. George Deukmejian's "failure" to clean up toxic wastes.
"The time has come for the governor to close down Casmalia's dump site and instruct his Administration to do something about it," Bradley said, referring to the northern Santa Barbara County dump that is the subject of lawsuits alleging that toxic waste dumped there has caused cancer and other health problems.
The governor, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bradley asserted, "has (neither) said nor done anything about the problem."
Casmalia is one of two Class 1 hazardous waste dumps serving Southern California. As such, it is licensed to receive the broadest range of toxic chemicals allowed. The other Class 1 site is at Kettleman Hills in the western San Joaquin Valley.
State Department of Health Services spokesman Bill Ihle said Friday that the state "is taking steps, including shutting down segments of the facility that were most associated with the noxious odors people were complaining about. For the mayor to say we haven't done anything . . . he's badly misinformed."
Amid mounting public protests, the state last November ordered a temporary halt to dumping of virtually all hazardous liquids at the site. Among other things, the dump was directed to treat hazardous wastes stored in open-air ponds.
The state also has required daily air monitoring and preparation of a plan to ensure that no liquid wastes would be accepted unless specifically authorized by the state.
Local residents also have complained about the department's proposal to move waste from the McColl dump in Fullerton to Casmalia. Ihle called the proposal "just an alternative mentioned. . . . It was never our intent to send it there."
Bradley was asked about the dump site during a press conference here to note the anniversary of the California Coastal Commission, which was created in 1972 by voters as the principal watchdog agency over the state's 1,100-mile coastline.
An advanced text of Bradley's speech described Deukmejian as "a straight-A student in the James Watt school of environmental protection."
But when he delivered the speech, Bradley did not use the lines likening Deukmejian to the former Reagan Administration Interior secretary who was so unpopular with environmentalists. Instead, Bradley chose to criticize Deukmejian's reduction of the Coastal Commission budget. Deukmejian has unsuccessfully tried to abolish the panel and has cut the commission budget.
Work Largely Finished
Administration officials have said the commission's work on local coastal plans are largely finished, but environmentalists have argued that more difficult planning remains and that the cuts impeded the work of the commission. This year, the governor's budget calls for an increase of two commission staff members, a move that Bradley attributed to "the election year."