Editor: One of our original contributors and former OBcean, Jon Christensen, finally got his piece about the Miramar Landfill in the San Diego Union-Tribune’s oped page. Here is its opening.
By Jon Christensen / Union-Tribune / August 1, 2010
Why is selling the Miramar Landfill a good idea? Like a used car with 150,000 miles, it’s mostly used up, at least according to the campaign for a new landfill in Gregory Canyon in the North County. Miramar’s life as a landfill can be measured in months rather than years. So it must be a good idea to sell it now. Once filled up, there’s limited commercial value; you can’t build on a landfill. Parks, playgrounds, parking lots or just open space is their destiny.
The city of San Diego can’t afford to run the parks it has now. Is the plan to unload the liability while the landfill still operates? What about the next disposal site? What about Gregory Canyon? Would that be a private for-profit operation? Perhaps the city hopes to reduce liability? Unfortunately, the law compels San Diego to retain the liability for the consequences of the landfill for, well, forever. Selling the property will not relieve the city of liability.
The county is often mentioned in news articles concerning Miramar. True, the county divested itself of its landfills, but it retained liability for their contents. Given what landfills are and given what government does, it’s not a simple matter of handing the keys over and walking away.
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