By T.A. Hendrickson
The five-member Glendale City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to close the Scholl Canyon landfill as soon as it reaches capacity, estimated to occur in December 2025. That closure date was the earliest of four options under consideration.
The vote to close the dump is a victory for local organizations and individuals that have fought against the landfill for decades, notably the East Area Progressive Democrats, the Glenoaks Canyon Homeowners Association, the Glendale Environmental Coalition, the office of Los Angeles City Council District 14, now headed by Councilmember Kevin de León, and the Coalition for Scholl Landfill Alternatives.
The big question now is what will happen to the site once the dump is closed.
At the meeting on Tuesday, commenters and some councilmembers called for converting the area to recreational uses and establishing a solar-panel farm on the acreage.
The elephant in the room was that Glendale has already approved a plan to build a power plant at the site to convert methane from decaying garbage into energy, producing 12 megawatts of power and an estimated $7 million a year in revenue. Glendale Water and Power has pushed hard to build the plant and on Nov. 30, 2021, the Glendale City Council greenlighted the project by a vote of 3-to-2.
Environmentalists and activists who have fought to close the Scholl Canyon landfill have also opposed the plan to build a power plant at the site and have been hoping that the City Council would rescind its approval.
Their hopes were bolstered by the election in June, when one of the councilmembers who voted to approve the plant, Vrej Agajanian, was ousted, and a pro-environmental candidate, Elen Asatryan, was elected. That created a majority on the council consisting of Asatryan and the two councilmembers who voted against approving the power plant in November – Ardy Kassakhian and Dan Brotman.
Will those three members hold together to nix the power plant at Scholl Canyon?
A test will come on Tuesday, Sept. 20, when the Glendale City Council will vote on one resolution and one motion to authorize a total of $61 million in contracts to engineer, design and construct the power plant at Scholl and provide equipment and services on the project.
If the contracts are approved, it would become harder to rescind the decision to build the plant.
The Glendale City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20 will begin at 6 p.m. Information on how to attend and participate, in person or remotely, are here.