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environmental health

Board Supports Legislation to Close Plastic Bag Ban Loophole 150 150 Hayley Munguia

Board Supports Legislation to Close Plastic Bag Ban Loophole

Los Angeles, CA—Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn and co-authored by Chair Lindsey Horvath to throw the board’s support behind efforts in Sacramento to close an existing loophole in the statewide plastic bag ban.

A loophole in the 2014 California plastic bag ban exempted thicker plastic bags considered “reusable.” However, the vast majority of the thicker bags are used only once and are no longer considered recyclable, and the widespread use of them has led to Californians throwing away more pounds of plastic bags since the ban – not less. In 2014, when the ban was passed, Californians threw out roughly 315 million pounds of plastic bags. By 2022, Californians were throwing out 462 million pounds of plastic bags, a 47% increase.

“These thicker plastic bags may be called reusable, but most of us are only using them once,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “This loophole has undermined the state’s effort to reduce our use of single-use plastics and ironically made the problem worse. I appreciate Senator Ben Allen and his colleagues for taking this on and taking a stand against the plastics industry.”

The two pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 1053, authored by State Senators Ben Allen and Catherine Blakespear, and Assembly Bill 2236, authored by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, would require stores statewide to provide recycled paper bags or reusable bags that are non-film plastic.

Read full motion here: https://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/bos/supdocs/191185.pdf

Hahn Applauds $44 Million for Zero Emissions Trucks at Port of Long Beach 150 150 Hayley Munguia

Hahn Applauds $44 Million for Zero Emissions Trucks at Port of Long Beach

Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn has issued the following statement regarding news that federal grants totaling $44 million have been awarded to reduce truck emissions at the Port of Long Beach:

“Our ports are the single largest job creator in our county, but they are also the single biggest polluter in the region. This $44 million federal investment in zero emissions trucks at the Port of Long Beach backs up what I have believed my entire career: we do not need to choose between good jobs and clean air – we can, and we should have both. I applaud Congressman Garcia for fighting to bring these federal dollars home and the Biden Administration for prioritizing the health and well-being of our Harbor Area residents and communities along our 710 freeway.”

Hahn Calls on State to Close Noncompliant Waste Management Facility Posing Threat to Residents 150 150 Hayley Munguia

Hahn Calls on State to Close Noncompliant Waste Management Facility Posing Threat to Residents

Hahn sends letter to Department of Toxic Substances Control

Los Angeles, CA – This morning, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn sent a letter to Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) expressing concerns about the Phibro-Tech waste management facility in Santa Fe Springs and calling on the state agency to shutter the facility until it complies with state toxic substance regulations. Later this month, DTSC will render a final decision on whether to grant the company a permit to continue operating.

“This facility is toxic and its owners know it, as does DTSC and the neighbors. Less than 400 yards from thousands of homes, this known violator of state health and safety laws has been allowed to continue operating. It has to stop immediately,” said Hahn.

The Phibro-Tech facility, located at 8851 Dice Road in Santa Fe Springs, generates, handles, treats, and stores hazardous waste including wastewater from local industries with high concentrations of copper, lead, chromium, nickel, sulfates and chlorides. Residents of the neighboring unincorporated community of Los Nietos, sandwiched between this facility and the 605 freeway, have expressed concerns and frustration with the facility’s past violations, including 23 issued by DTSC itself.
Hahn’s letter to Williams reads in part: “Not only do I urge the DTSC not to approve a new permit for this facility, I believe that this facility needs to be shut down entirely until it can come into compliance with the law.”

Read the letter here or the text below:

March 13, 2024

Ms. Meredith Williams
Director of Department of Toxic Substances Control
5701 South Eastern Avenue
Suite 630
Commerce, CA 90040

Re: Final Permit Decision for PhiBro Tech Incorporated

Dear Ms. Williams,

I am writing to share my concerns about DTSC rendering a final permit decision for Phibro-Tech Incorporated, a hazardous waste management facility located in my district at 8851 Dice Road, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670.

Phibro-Tech generates, handles, treats, and stores hazardous waste. This includes handling wastewater from local industries with high concentrations of copper, lead, chromium, nickel, sulfates and chlorides – chemicals that pose serious risks to the health of local residents especially if handled improperly.

This facility has a long record of violating health and safety laws. In recent years, your departments inspectors have cited Phibro-Tech with 19 class one violations and 4 class two violations for leaking containers and cracked containment barriers, and fined the facility $495,000 for illegal storage and treatment of hazardous waste. The SCAQMD cited the facility for releasing ammonia gas. CalOSHA cited Phibro-Tech for unsafe working conditions that left one worker with acid burns and another with breathing problems after being sprayed in the face with hydrochloric acid.

Unfortunately, this problematic facility is located only 352 yards from my constituents living in the residential unincorporated Los Nietos community. Los Nietos is one of the most environmentally vulnerable communities in the state, and several schools including, Los Nietos Middle School, are located within a one-mile radius from the Phibro-Tech site.

I share the concerns of Los Nietos residents who are frustrated with Phibro-Tech’s repeated violations and do not want to see the facility rewarded with a final permit decision.

Not only do I urge the DTSC not to approve a new permit for this facility, I believe that this facility needs to be shut down entirely until it can come into compliance with the law. Phibro-Tech poses too great of a threat to the health and safety of its workers and the local community.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and your commitment to protecting California’s public health and environment.

Sincerely,
JANICE HAHN
Supervisor, Fourth District
County of Los Angeles

Cc: Ms. Katie Butler, Hazardous Waste Management Program Deputy Director, DTSC
Mr. Rao Akula, Project Manager, Permitting Division, DTSC
Mr. Phillip Blum, Supervisor, Chatsworth Permitting Division, DTSC

Supervisors Call for Update on County Program to Protect Vulnerable Communities from Pollution 150 150 Hayley Munguia

Supervisors Call for Update on County Program to Protect Vulnerable Communities from Pollution

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn and coauthored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis that directs the Department of Regional Planning to provide an update in 120 days on the County’s Green Zone Program. The motion calls for information on work already completed, outstanding work, and any barriers to completion.

“For most people, the nasty byproducts that industrial facilities generate are out of sight and out of mind. Some of our most vulnerable communities—especially Black and Latino ones—don’t have that luxury. This Green Zone program was supposed to protect them, but in the year and a half since we launched it, we haven’t heard anything else,” said Hahn, who brought the motion forward. “The County can’t afford to drag its feet on this any longer. These communities deserve better.”

The Green Zone Program, passed by the Board in 2022, establishes special land use and zoning regulations in 11 unincorporated communities that abut industrial facilities.

Among other measures, the Green Zone Program places additional permitting requirements and development standards for existing and new industrial facilities that operate with hazardous waste. Operations at these facilities have in the past led to odors, soil contamination, and toxic air pollution in the communities that surround them.

“We must stay on top of the Green Zone Program and keep track of the progress made to date – we owe it to our most impacted communities,” said Supervisor Solis. “Although a lot has been accomplished, Green Zone communities, such as City Terrace in the First District, continue to experience concerns from businesses refusing to be good partners. To that end, we must continue our dedicated efforts to ensure the implementation of the Green Zone Program is accomplished, and having detailed reports and updates will help us meet those goals.”

The Ordinance also expanded requirements for development of future new “sensitive uses” adjacent to industrial, recycling and solid waste, or vehicle-related uses. Sensitive sites are defined as spaces where individuals are most likely to reside or spend time, including homes, schools, daycares, hospitals, and nursing homes among others.

In the past year, Hahn has led calls for regulatory agencies to take action on contamination in communities she represents, most notably in the case of soil pollution from the former Exide battery plant in Vernon, which left thousands of residents in largely Latino communities with dangerously high levels of lead on their properties. Hahn also led the creation of the Office of Environmental Justice, which will launch this year.

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