Protecting Community Voices, Clean Air, and Agriculture
When Chemical Waste Management, Inc (Chem Waste) proposed the construction of a toxic waste incinerator 3.5 miles from Kettleman City, a predominantly Latino community in the San Joaquin Valley, residents grew alarmed. City residents urged Kings County to translate the 1,000 page, CEQA-mandated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) into Spanish. The county was unresponsive, and Chem Waste issued a scant, five page executive summary in Spanish. County officials also refused to hear translated testimony during public hearings. After the County approved the incinerator over community objections, residents filed a lawsuit under CEQA. The presiding judge ruled that the EIR had not sufficiently analyzed the toxic waste incinerator’s impacts on air quality and on agriculture. The judge also ruled that residents had not been meaningfully included in the permitting process. Chem Waste first appealed the decision and ultimately withdrew its application.