The City of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County are considering the approval of a $120 million processing facility at the Tajiguas Landfill that could prove to be an environmental disaster and economic failure.

The proposal calls for a high-tech solution to a low-tech problem. The promoter, builder, and operator of this project, the investor group MSB, has no prior experience with the technology or management of a project of this huge scale.

The end product of the process will be a compost that may very well be unsuitable for agricultural application due to its contamination. The City of Napa recently abandoned a very similar project, opting for “low tech” composting and enhanced curbside sorting. Rates for garbage disposal will increase by about 60 percent over 12 years.

MSB was originally responsible for financing the project, but shifted the borrowing of $120 million to the county when the project became too expensive; the county has no business borrowing $120 million to finance this dubious project.

Phil McKenna is past president of Gaviota Coast Conservancy and is a member of the GavPAC.


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