LONG BEACH — The City Council Tuesday decided to formally oppose construction of a proposed BKK Corp. toxic waste treatment plant in neighboring Wilmington.
The council decision means that the city will send representatives to future state hearings to speak against the project because of its "potential environmental and life safety hazards," council members said.
Council member Ray Grabinski, who led the opposition to the project, said while the council realizes that it has limited authority over the toxics plant and cannot prevent it from opening, the members want to ensure that the "safest possible" facility is constructed.
Because the proposed plant would be on the Wilmington border, at 3031 I St., an "environmental disaster" would severely affect Long Beach, Grabinski said.
According to the firm's environmental impact statement, the plant would have the capacity to process up to 425,000 tons of liquid waste a year, said Marshall Blesofsky, a member of Long Beach Area Citizens Involved, who spoke against BKK at Tuesday's council meeting.
Ken Kazarian, BKK president, did not dispute Blesofsky's figures. He said, however, that while city officials could serve as watchdogs over the project, "we think facilities like this are needed."
The plant, which has drawn heavy opposition from neighboring Long Beach residents, still must obtain approvals from the state Health Services Department and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, said Garry Felgemaker, the city's manager of community and environmental planning.
The council voted 6 to 2 to oppose the plant, with Mayor Ernie Kell and Councilman Thomas Clark voting against the motion. The two council members said that the proposed facility is outside the city's boundaries, and that such facilities were needed to stop illegal dumping of toxic wastes.