Center for Policy Initiatives / January 31, 2011
The City of San Diego is quietly selling off its only landfill, a move that will impact every San Diego resident and business, and the environment.
Besides providing a place to put a million tons of trash a year, Miramar Landfill is a moneymaker for the City and provides many benefits that are likely to be degraded or lost under the proposed 35-year lease to a private operator.
A new Center for Policy Initiative (CPI) report lists major benefits now provided by the landfill, including:
- Revenue from the landfill pays for its own operation plus community services like canyon cleanups, recycling programs, dead animal pickup and trash collection from public trash cans throughout the city. If Miramar is privatized, that revenue goes to the private operator. What happens to the services?
- Low fees for dumping by individuals and businesses, plus free dumping for many nonprofits. Privatization likely will more than double the fees to the level charged at the privately-operated Sycamore landfill.
- Green recycling that produces free mulch and compost for city residents, businesses and community gardens. Recycling also extends the life of the landfill.
CPI analyzed the City’s description of the proposed privatization contract, and found significant omissions that will lower service levels and environmental standards, increase costs for many, and decrease public accountability.
One big thing missing will be the internationally certified environmental management system at Miramar. The city dropped the certification, known as ISO 14001, shortly before seeking bids in July from private operators, and is not requiring bidders to meet the same standards. CPI, the Sierra Club and other local groups have warned of potential air and water pollution, as well as harm to sensitive habitats and endangered species, if the landfill is privatized. A City Council committee is considering restoring the environmental standards, and will hear a response from the Mayor’s staff this Wednesday [Feb 2, 2011].
The privatization track record contains plenty of evidence of higher fees, degraded services and lost accountability when for-profit companies take over valuable public assets. Help us stop a shortsighted financial decision full of long-term risks for San Diegans.
- Please sign our petition opposing privatization of Miramar Landfill, and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same: .
- Join our new Facebook cause, Public Services for the Public Good ! Please share the cause with your friends and watch for updates on the sale of your landfill!
To learn more about the landfill and the likely changes with privatization, see onlineCPI.org/landfill