Now, rather than creating a problem with it's imports, Los Angeles is being challenged over it's exports, 26 times a day, 26 tons of sewage treatment plant sludge trucked to the Central Valley to go on fields to raise hay that is exported to Japan.
The title of this post is stolen from a Matt Jenkins article in High Country News. (subscription required). LA gets a purified water and the farmers of Kern County get ????. That is the problem. It is everyting that goes down the drain somewhere.
The problems are a regulatory mess. Once again you have the question of whether local jurisdictions (Kern County) can regulate what is imported to go on their land, or do less restrictive state and local regulations take precedent.
On Nov. 20, U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess ordered Kern County to lift its ban, saying it conflicts with the waste management act. He has forwarded the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to send it to the California Supreme Court.
Regardless of what happens in court, the situation’s not going away. A Kern County victory will probably just divert the sludge to farms elsewhere, such as Arizona, at an increased cost to taxpayers. After all, whether one county wants it or not, sludge happens.
The environmental implications involved in this legal discussion are everywhere. In 2006, the Democratic controlled California State Legislature was working on a bill that would have stopped local jurisdictions from attempting to control the use of GMO's in local agriculture. Earlier in 2006, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would have overridden state measure like California's Proposition 65 that enforced strict labeling laws on food products.
Greens need look no further to find an issue that meshes well with the ten key values. The Kern County voters solidly supported a ban on importing sludge by a margin of 85% - 15%. It was that ban which the Federal Judge overturned.