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The Imperial County Board of Supervisors, acting as the Imperial County Air Pollutions Control Board, voted 4-0 in favor of a new rule that covers composting operations in the Valley. | COURTESY IMAGE

COUNTY BRIEFS: APCD Adopts New Compost Rule Over Protest

A new composting rule is in place, but talks are still ongoing about what the future for the rule has in store.

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors, acting as the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District Board, voted 4-0 in favor of the new rule, which covers composting operations in the Valley.

The decision was made during the board’s weekly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

The impetus for the new rule was a commitment that was made in the air pollution district’s 2018 annual particulate matter 2.5 state implementation plan, said Air Pollution Control Officer Matt Dessert. The air district promised to get the new rule written and approved before the end of 2020.

Before this rule, there was no air district regulation of composting facilities, he said. 

The rule will be similar to that of San Joaquin County, Assistant Air Pollution Control Officer Reyes Romero said. 

Rule 430 covers new and existing composting facilities, and the pollutants, “volatile organic compounds” and ammonia, are regulated by choosing from a menu of management practices or control equipment in the rule.

The rule was not without its critics as members of the social justice community led by Comite Civico Del Valle came together to offer suggestions and protest the rule before the board.

The board approved the new rule, but not without stating that the rule is part of a living document and can be amended if needed. Board chair Luis Plancarte even said he looks forward to the work that has gone into the rule and seeing the changes that will come in the following months to make it even better.

Supes Join Fight for Communication

Imperial County leaders are joining a region-wide fight to get more communication with the governor’s office.

The county board voted 4-0 to sign its name onto a letter from 11 Southern California counties that is being sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.

The letter touches on four specific issues, Intergovernmental Relations Director Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter said. There is discussion of financial assistance for struggling businesses and hospitals, better coordination of health orders between the county and state, and issues with counties submitting information about intensive-care unit hospitalizations.

In general, it’s about having more communication with the governor’s office, she said.

CEO Contract Extended

The board approved extending the employment contract of County Executive Officer Tony Rouhotas Jr. The existing contract was set to expire Dec. 31. It was extended for one year. 

The former Imperial County fire chief’s contract is essentially the same as the current salary, County Counsel Adam Crook said. The severance provision has been changed to include a longer severance if Rouhotas is fired without cause.

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