Plan to dump trash in Nevada desert sparks furor
A Bay Area waste management company wants to turn 1-square-mile of Nevada desert into a landfill.
Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 03:35 PM
Out of sight, out of mind -- that seems to be the rationale behind a San Francisco trash company’s decision to haul the city’s waste to a remote stretch of desert in Nevada. But residents in the Winnemucca area, where Recology plans to site the new landfill, are protesting that their desert isn’t the Bay Area’s dump.
Recology is hoping to build its 560-acre landfill 28 miles from Winnemucca and about 30 miles from the playa where Burning Man -- an annual festival popular with San Francisco residents -- is held every year. If approved, Recology would ship some 4,000 tons of trash from Northern California to Nevada by train every day, five days a week for 95 years.
While the waste management firm claims that the site is in the middle of nowhere, and won’t affect nearby communities, residents like Jim French and other members of Nevadans Against Garbage are strongly opposed to the plan.
"The notion that Nevada is some sort of wasteland because we don't have Ponderosa pines covering it is repugnant," the retired wildlife biologist told SF Gate.
"Can you imagine the reaction in the Bay Area if the people of western Nevada bought some land in Marin County and wanted to ship their garbage there?"
Nevadans Against Garbage aren’t the only ones raising a stink about the plan. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a letter to Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons urging him to reject the plan as an affront to Nevada’s dignity. Other protestors cite concerns about pollution of the air and water.
"Our desert is a special place to us," said Tom Fransway, chairman of the Humboldt County Board of Commissioners. "Probably as special to us as the ocean is to Californians."