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Photo submitted by HelpHinkley.org
Construction workers prepared the proposed sludge plant site near Hinkley Friday.

Hinkley sludge plant moves forward

Judge approves the plant's environmental impact report

HINKLEY • Leaders of a proposed compost recycling plant near Hinkley say the facility could be built as early as next month after a judge ruled Monday approving the company’s environmental impact report.

Nursery Products, LLC. has been trying to build the plant for six years, but have been stalled due to litigation from environmental firms associated with HelpHinkley.org, a group dedicated to fighting environmental issues on behalf of Hinkley residents.

Nursery Products Director of Operations Chris Seney said he believes this is the last legal obstacle the company has to building.

“It’s been a long, long road,” Seney said. “I look forward to showing them what (the plant) really is. It’s great for the environment, great for taxpayers, and it’s going to provide a lot of jobs.”

When constructed, the 80-acre facility will accept 400,000 tons of waste product per year — half biosolids, or treated human waste, and half green waste, such as tree trimmings and grass clippings.

Seney said the plant is good for the community as it will provide 35 jobs and also handle Barstow’s sludge waste at half the cost.

Bob Conaway, Hinkley resident and member of HelpHinkley.org, said the group opposes the plant due to the environmental and community impacts the facility will have on the Hinkley community. Conaway explained the group’s biggest concerns are with odor, wind and water supply, among others. Each of these matters are addressed in the company’s EIR, which has been under legal scrutiny these six years.

Conaway said he felt the information given to the judge in this case was inaccurate or incomplete, though he’s not sure what the group’s next steps will be.

“It’s disappointing,” Conaway said. “Disappointing because the actual facts are not the facts that are being recited.”

San Bernardino Superior Court Judge John P. Vander Feer ruled in favor of Nursery Products over the latest concern: water supply.

The judge ordered Nursery Products in April to determine if there was sufficient groundwater available for the project. The case was heard after Nursery Products obtained an assessment of the area’s groundwater; drafted an addendum to the EIR; and received approval from the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or klucia@desertdispatch.com


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