CARSON CITY — A California company’s attempt to dump a mountain of garbage near Winnemucca was blocked Monday.
The Humboldt County Commission rejected an extended conditional use permit sought by Recology, the San Francisco-based parent company of Jungo Land & Investments Co.
Recology wants to haul in 4,000 tons of garbage a day from Northern California communities for the next 95 years and dump it on the desert playa about 28 miles west of Winnemucca.
The county’s Regional Planning Commission had granted Recology the extension it needed to move forward with the project, but the County Commission unanimously revoked it. Recology still could appeal its denial to the courts.
County Commissioner Tom Fransway said he opposed the permit because the landfill posed a threat to the health and safety of the community and because of public opposition.
"I am very pleased with the outcome," he said Tuesday. "We are feeling awful good today."
Fransway said Recology attorney John Francovich wanted him to recuse himself from voting because of his announced opposition.
"That was preposterous," Fransway said. "I was doing my job."
Recology has 25 days to appeal, but Fransway said he is confident a judge will rule for the commission.
Adam Alberti, a spokesman for Recology and the Jungo Land Co., said his company is evaluating its next steps. He said the commission decision could cost the region more than $660 million and new jobs.
He said the project could have generated $323 million in economic activity and $237 million in local and state taxes, with $100 million in host fees for Humboldt County. The county never determined a host fee.
The move to put a 200-foot high mountain of garbage in the desert led Gov. Jim Gibbons to suggest imposing fees on the garbage and raising revenue for the state.
Winnemucca attorney Bob Dolan, who sued the Regional Planning Commission over granting Jungo a five-year extended permit, said the company failed to get the work done that it was required to do under its initial three-year permit.
"That permit expired, and they failed to show good cause for the extension," Dolan said. "The excuses offered by the company were offensive."
The company blamed "community involvement" for delays, with interference by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., he said.
Reid had called the dump a threat to Nevada’s "sovereignty and dignity" and added an amendment to a federal bill to fund a study on possible leakage from the landfill.
"The proposal to dump a mountain of California trash in Nevada is a lose-lose proposition for our state," Reid said in a statement Tuesday. "The people of Humboldt County have made it clear they don’t want other states dumping trash in their backyards, and I applaud their decision. "
Dolan said he has filed a challenge to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s decision to grant an air quality permit for the project.
Fred Weinberg of radio station KWNA-AM, 1400, in Winnemucca, said the calls the station received against the dump were overwhelming. He estimated that at least 65 percent of residents opposed it.