The future of Los Angeles’ trash policy could be decided in Sacramento, where legislators are set this month to consider a bill that could make it easier to build trash-to-energy plants. Los Angeles city and county officials are studying so-called conversion technologies that lessen dependence on landfills by turning trash into gas or electricity. City Councilman Greig Smith has proposed building plants in Los Angeles by 2010 to alleviate the need for Sunshine Canyon Landfill – the Granada Hills dump that currently takes the city’s residential trash – but said he needs a change in state law to allow it. Under current law, these technologies cannot generate any pollution, which makes it virtually impossible to build trash-to-gas plants in California. In recycling, bottles are converted into glass for new bottles, and the process can be repeated over and over again. “We are concerned that demand, that hunger for feedstock, is going to pull materials from other traditional recycling uses,” Smithline said. “Let’s make sure you’re not diverting material that was going to compost. Let’s make sure you’re not diverting paper that was going to the pulper for recycled paper.” Conversion proponents say their plants would take only the trash left over after recyclables are removed. In the city of Los Angeles, that material currently goes to the Sunshine Canyon or Bradley landfills or one of the dumps in a neighboring city. There are also concerns among environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, that the bill will encourage unproven technologies that could produce hazardous air contaminants. Supporters hope AB 1090 will clear the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee this month. If signed by the governor this year, the bill could make it easier for conversion technologies to be built in California in 2007. The plants would still have to meet local government land-use restrictions and Southern California’s strict air quality regulations. Kerry Cavanaugh, (818) 713-3746 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson “Right now, they simply can’t get permitted or sited,” said David Roberti, a former state senator and current president of the BioEnergy Producers Association. His group is pushing AB 1090, sponsored by Assemblywoman Barbara Matthews, D-Stockton, which would define conversion technologies in state law and equate conversion with recycling because both processes turn trash into usable products. The proposed law also would encourage the development of conversion facilities because trash sent to trash-to-energy plants would be counted toward the state mandate that 50 percent of all trash be diverted from landfills. But some environmental groups oppose the bill, saying it would undermine recycling efforts. In conversion, food scraps, tree branches and paper are broken down into fuel that’s burned and used one time, said Scott Smithline, policy analyst for Californians Against Waste.