Desert Dump next to National Park is in a Financial Hole
11/2/2011--The developer of a contentious, 4,654-acre Eagle Mountain landfill project proposed for an area just east of the Coachella Valley and south of Joshua Tree National Park has filed for bankruptcy.
Mine Reclamation LLC officials said Monday that the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal bankruptcy court in Riverside County.
Richard Stoddard, Mine Reclamation's president, said the bankruptcy filing is necessary to “protect the company,” which has invested nearly $85 million in permitting and legal fees, but has been unsuccessful in opening the landfill.
…Had the landfill project been successful, it would have benefited retired Kaiser steel workers. They had hoped the landfill project would provide a source of funding for the full restoration of their benefits that they lost when Kaiser Steel Company closed.
Ron Bitonti, chairman of the Kaiser Voluntary Employee Benefit Association, said when the project was first introduced, his group had more than 8,000 members, and many have died.
“Now, due to the delays caused by the litigation initiated by a few environmental extremists and the delays caused by the courts, we are down to approximately 3,500 members,” Bitonti said.
Kaiser Ventures, which owns 83 percent of the struggling Mine Reclamation LLC, rejected a push by Eagle Mountain landfill foes to turn the land over to the public.
…There may be more litigation to come, he said. The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, which agreed to pay $41 million for the landfill, have threatened to sue Mine Reclamation to force it to overcome all the obstacles and continue permitting the landfill at the company’s expense, Cook said. Mine Reclamation has given the county a choice of proceeding with the purchase or terminating the sale.