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Tanner Cites Concern Over Rail Study : Sponsor Shelves Trash Incinerator Bill

September 10, 1987|MARK GLADSTONE | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Assemblywoman Sally Tanner (D-El Monte) has shelved until next year a measure that would make it tougher to build trash incinerators in the San Gabriel Valley.

Tanner's bill would force any waste-to-energy plant to draw 50% of its trash from homes and businesses within the same air pollution zone.

The measure had been awaiting consideration on the Senate floor, but Tanner announced Tuesday that she is putting it aside until next year because of misgivings expressed by representatives of San Gabriel Valley cities and several lawmakers.

Specifically, Tanner said she did not want her bill to interfere with a $135,000 study on the feasibility of shipping trash by rail to the desert. San Gabriel Valley cities are paying for the study to be conducted by the Southern California Assn. of Governments.

Some city officials are concerned that if the bill becomes law, waste-to-energy plants might not be built in the desert and rural areas if they can only buy 50% of their garbage from other air pollution zones.

Tanner's measure was introduced in February as a way to spread trash disposal throughout Los Angeles County and reduce the demand for incinerators--which generate electricity by burning trash--in the San Gabriel Valley.

In May, the Assembly approved the proposal by a 67-2 vote and sent it to the Senate, where the Natural Resources Committee approved it 6-0 in July.

As she has in the past, Tanner said Tuesday that her aim has been to reduce the amount of trash disposed of in the San Gabriel Valley. Said Tanner: "We're accepting two-thirds of Los Angeles County's trash."

But Tanner added that if there is another way to reduce trash dumping in her district and elsewhere in the San Gabriel Valley, she supports studying alternatives.

"I think it's fair of me to wait" to consider the bill, said Tanner, who has not taken a position on the idea of shipping trash to the desert.

In addition to the reservations expressed by cities, Tanner said she heard from several state senators concerned about her bill.

For example, Sen. Ruben Ayala (D-Chino), whose district includes Pomona, said Tanner's measure could jeopardize another study by Riverside and San Bernardino counties to dump trash in the desert.

Ayala said the counties are looking into the possibility of dumping trash at a closed iron ore mine at Eagle Mountain in the desert in Riverside County. Kaiser Steel Corp. closed the mine in 1982.

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