The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

July 2, 2013
Send us a Fourth of July letter!

benfrank2.JPGOn Thursday, we'll publish a selection of letters honoring our nation's freedoms. Would you like to be part of that?

If so, let us know what July 4 means to you, or which part of the Declaration of Independence resonates with your life, in a 150-word letter.

For your letter to be considered, we would need to receive it by noon Wednesday at this address.

Or, send it by email to Be sure to include your name, city of residence, which will be published, and daytime phone number, which will not be published.

July 2, 2013
California agrees to expand toxic waste landfill, reduce waste

Kettleman.JPGCalifornia's Department of Toxic Substances Control announced today a draft decision to let Chemical Waste Management Inc. expand its Kettleman Hills hazardous waste landfill in Kings County. At the same time, DTSC unveiled an effort to reduce the amounts of hazardous waste that California generates each year and sends to landfills in California and other states.

"We must start the discussion on how we can end or significantly reduce our dependence on landfills and develop sustainable solutions that protect this generation and generations to come," said DTSC Director Debbie Raphael in a statement.

Chemical Waste Management applied to DTSC for a permit to expand its landfill five years ago, and has curtailed truck shipments to the site because of lack of capacity. All the time, exports of hazardous wastes to other states have increased.

Some Kettleman City residents blame the landfill -- the largest of its kind in the West -- for tainting their drinking water and causing birth defects, claims the company disputes. A study by two state agencies was unable to document a link, saying that researchers could "not find a specific cause or environmental exposure among the mothers that would explain the increase in the number of children born with birth defects in Kettleman City."

Bradley Angel of the group Greenaction told the Associated Press that the expansion permit was based on "bogus studies" and "hiding the number of birth defects and infant deaths."

The Bee's Dan Morain's profiled the situation in Kettleman City in March. A Fresno Bee story on DTSC's draft decision can be found here.

Photo of the Kettleman Hills landfill by the Fresno Bee's John Walker.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

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