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The Signal: Chiquita Canyon successfully appeals $5M in fees after county hearing officer ruling

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Chiquita Canyon Landfill no longer has to pay more than $5 million in penalties and fees imposed by Los Angeles County Public Works after the county hearing officer ruled in favor of the landfill in an appeal.

On Feb. 20, Department of Public Works officials announced that Hearing Officer Rossana D’Antonio’s decision “is to rescind the Enforcement Order of Aug. 30, 2017 and any associated administrative penalties.”

“The company is pleased with the decision and appreciates the close attention of the hearing officer to the evidence and law,” James Little, senior vice president for engineering and disposal for Waste Connections, which owns and operates the landfill, said in a prepared statement.

Public Works issued the order at the time for what it determined to be delinquent fees totaling $5.13 million, alleging that Chiquita Canyon underpaid solid waste management fees as a result of failing to comply with reporting requirements involving “the quantity of beneficial reuse materials being received, processed and disposed at the (Chiquita Canyon Landfill)…,” according to the hearing officer’s six-page decision.

In her findings, she points out the disposal of clean soil at the landfill. She said fees are calculated for each landfill based on the amount of solid waste that is received, collected, conveyed or hauled. D’Antonio found that Chiquita Canyon did not dispose of clean soil at the landfill, which would have qualified for fee application. The landfill instead stored soil for daily cover and other practical uses at the locale.

The hearing officer also found that Public Works “failed to demonstrate its independent authority under the (Los Angeles County Code) or statute to reclassify clean soil as excessive beneficial reuse material, making it waste and subject to the (solid waste management fee).”

D’Antonio also rejected what the department called an “industry standard” 4:1 ratio for what constitutes excessive beneficial reuse and instead said it was “anything but arbitrary,” due to lack of evidence or testimony.

“This hearing officer recognizes that the operation of a landfill is dynamic and that waste-to-cover ratio determinations and calculations are not an exact science,” the decision reads.

Read full article here.

CHIQUITA CANYON EMPLOYEES AND FAMILIES BUILD AND DELIVER 85 NEW BIKES

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Chiquita Canyon, an innovative local business that is home to a 9.2 megawatt clean energy facility, continued its legacy as a good neighbor by helping make the holiday season a little brighter for children at the Child & Family Center, Helping Our Children Santa Clarita, Val Verde, and the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley.  Dozens of bicycles that were assembled by landfill employees and their families over the weekend were delivered today to the nonprofit organizations as part of Waste Connection’s 17th Annual Christmas Promise Bike Build program.

“Chiquita Canyon is always honored and excited to constantly support and contribute to our local nonprofits,” said Steve Cassulo, District Manager of Chiquita Canyon. “There is no greater feeling than watching the children receive these gifts, and even more, seeing their faces and excitement because for some it is their first bike.”

Christmas Promise Bike Build is a Waste Connections annual tradition of providing thousands of bicycles for underprivileged children across the country. Now in its seventeenth year, with the help from partners and local businesses, Christmas Promise Bike Build purchases and assembles bikes each holiday season and donates them to local charities. The build-a-bike program is donating more than 2,000 bicycles this year to organizations throughout the United States.

Locally, Chiquita Canyon built and delivered 85 bikes today to the Child & Family Center, Helping Our Children Santa Clarita, Val Verde, and the Boys and Girls Club just in time for the holiday season. These organizations are invaluable nonprofit community organizations which help build a healthy Santa Clarita Valley by providing to children, adults and families.

“The Boys & Girls Club is extremely grateful for the continued support of Chiquita Canyon, not just for this but for their constant support for events throughout the year,” said Boys & Girls Club CEO Matt Nelson. “This Club relies on the community and its support, and Chiquita Canyon has done just that to help us proudly support the children of this Valley.”