A state bill could effectively shut down the waste-to-energy incinerator that removes trash from Long Beach and surrounding areas, so the Long Beach City Council has called for a study session on the future From the factory.
State Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) introduced Assembly Bill 1857 in February, which seeks to eliminate diversion credits currently given to cities that burn trash in incinerators in Long Beach. and in Stanislaus County instead of sending them to landfills. This would likely make the Southeast Resource Recovery Facility (SERRF) in Long Beach too expensive to continue operating.
At the city council meeting on Tuesday, March 22, Councilor Al Austin requested that staff prepare information for a plant study session. The council accepted and a session will be scheduled for April.
SERRF handles about 275,000 tons of municipal solid waste each year, according to a staff report. The city’s current agreement with Covanta, which provides for the operation of the facility, will expire on June 30, 2024. Additionally, the plant – on Terminal Island in the Port of Long Beach – is approximately 35 years old and needs major upgrades. , officials said.
“The scope of the study session will include reviews of the SERRF incineration process, operating costs, energy production, recycling capabilities, greenhouse gas emissions and possible alternatives. “, Austin said in a ballot to voters. “SERRF has served the City of Long Beach and its neighbors for approximately 35 years and now is the time to take a closer look at this solid waste management system.”
Environmental groups argued that the plant emitted harmful pollutants affecting poorer neighborhoods. A group called East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice submitted a letter Tuesday asking to be part of the study session and arguing that the city should spend money on ‘zero waste’ solutions instead of disposal methods .
“Our city cannot continue to ignore that the continued operation of SERRF is an issue of environmental racism,” reads the letter, signed by zero waste community organizer Whitney Amaya. “Many communities surrounding the incinerator, including communities outside of our city, are primarily low-income communities of color that are disproportionately burdened by multiple polluting industries, from oil and gas to freight transportation. Therefore, the focus of the study session should rather be on localized and community-rooted zero-waste alternatives to plan a just transition away from SERRF and fossil fuels.
In addition to the solid waste problem, the city is under pressure to implement an organic waste recycling program to meet the requirements of a state law called SB 1383.
This law requires every jurisdiction to provide organic waste collection services to all residents and businesses starting in 2022, but allows waivers for cities working to implement a program.
Long Beach has implemented a food waste recycling pilot program with some area restaurants, but has not begun collecting lawn clippings and other green waste.