BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 901


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          Date of Hearing:  April 13, 2015 


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES


                                 Das Williams, Chair


          AB 901  
          (Gordon) - As Introduced February 26, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Solid waste:  reporting requirements:  enforcement


          SUMMARY:  Updates, revises, and expands the information  
          recycling and composting operations and facilities are required  
          to submit to the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery  
          (CalRecycle).  


          EXISTING LAW, pursuant to the California Integrated Waste  
          Management Act (Act): 


          1)Establishes a state recycling goal of 75% by 2020 and requires  
            each local jurisdiction to divert 50% of solid waste from  
            landfill disposal.

          2)Requires a commercial waste generator, including multi-family  
            dwellings, to arrange for recycling services and requires  
            local governments to implement commercial solid waste  
            recycling programs designed to divert solid waste from  
            businesses.


          3)Requires generators of specified amounts of organic waste  
            (i.e., food waste and yard waste) to arrange for recycling  








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            services for that material.  


          4)Requires cities and counties to report specified information  
            to CalRecycle using the Disposal Reporting System (DRS), which  
            tracks the amount and origin of waste disposed in California  
            and sent from California to out-of-state landfills.  


          5)DRS information must be submitted by cities and counties at  
            least quarterly to CalRecycle.  


          6)Requires disposal facilities to report the origins and  
            tonnages of all material accepted at the facility to the  
            county in which it is located.  


          7)Requires recycling and composting facilities to submit  
            periodic information to counties on the origin, types, and  
            quantities of materials that are disposed of, sold to end  
            users, or that are sold out of state. 


          8)Requires each county to submit period reports to the relevant  
            cities, regional agencies, and CalRecycle on the origin and  
            amounts of waste disposed in the jurisdiction.  


          9)Grants CalRecycle regulatory authority to adopt practices and  
            procedures related to waste tracking in the state, as long as  
            the regulations do not impose an "unreasonable burden" on  
            waste handling, processing, or disposal operations.   


          THIS BILL:  


          1)Clarifies that recycling and composting operations, in  








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            addition to facilities, are required to submit periodic  
            information and requires that information be submitted to  
            CalRecycle, rather than counties.  Authorizes CalRecycle to  
            provide this information to local jurisdictions upon request. 


          2)Repeals the requirement that counties provide recycling and  
            composting facility information to CalRecycle.  


          3)Establishes penalties for any person who refuses or fails to  
            submit waste tracking information required by law or  
            regulation of not less than $500 and not more than $5,000 per  
            violation.  


          4)Establishes penalties for any person who knowingly or  
            willfully files a false report, or any person who refuses to  
            permit CalRecycle to perform an inspection or examination of  
            records of not less than $500 and not more than $10,000 per  
            violation.  


          5)Authorizes cities and counties to be designated by CalRecycle  
            to enforce these provisions.  


          6)Requires that all reporting required by the bill or related  
            regulations be submitted electronically. 


          7)Authorizes CalRecycle or its designee to conduct audits,  
            perform site inspections, observe facility operations, and  
            otherwise investigate the recordkeeping and reporting.  


          8)Authorizes CalRecycle to issue an administrative complaint to  
            any person on whom civil liability may be imposed, as  
            specified, and specifies that existing formal adjudicative  








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            procedures apply for the imposition of administrative  
            penalties.  


          9)Requires that any penalties collected be deposited into the  
            Integrated Waste Management Account or retained by the city or  
            county that brought the action.  


          10)Makes related technical and clarifying changes. 


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  


          1)This bill.  According to the author: 


               With the passage of AB 341 (Chesbro), [Chapter 476,  
               Statutes of 2011], the Legislature directed CalRecycle to  
               achieve a statewide recycling goal of 75% by 2020.  Moving  
               toward the more progressive 75% recycling goal will require  
               CalRecycle to successfully collect reliable waste flow  
               data.  


               The current absence of waste flow data enforcement  
               authority contributes to a widespread lack of compliance.   
               According to CalRecycle, 65% of 2013 DRS reports were late,  
               incomplete, or inaccurate.  Inadequate waste flow data  
               comprises California's ability to make informed decisions  
               about how and where to allocate resources to achieve the  
               75% recycling goal.  


               Additionally, inaccurate reporting can defraud local  








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               jurisdictions and the state out of millions of dollars in  
               revenue and hinder the ability of local jurisdictions to  
               comply with their AB 939 (Act) requirements.  Several  
               recent cases where disposal tonnages were misallocated  
               resulted in criminal action and involved millions of  
               dollars in fraud.   


          2)DRS. Existing law relating to disposal reporting, established  
            in 1992, is outdated.  In 2007, CalRecycle implemented an  
            electronic DRS (eDRS), which simplified the process for  
            disposal facility operators, local governments, and  
            CalRecycle.  Under the updated system, disposal facility  
            operators can update DRS directly on an ongoing basis.   
            Currently 22 counties report using eDRS, 30 continue to submit  
            paper reports, and 6 are not subject to reporting  
            requirements.  This bill requires that all reports be  
            submitted using eDRS.  



          Existing law as it relates to reporting requirements for  
            recycling and composting facilities has been in effect since  
            1992; however, CalRecycle has never implemented the provision  
            that requires recycling facilities to report on the types and  
            quantities of materials that they accept.  CalRecycle has  
            indicated that in order to achieve California's 75% recycling  
            goal and ensure compliance with organic waste recycling  
            requirements, it intends to begin implementing these  
            provisions.  This bill updates and streamlines the existing  
            requirements to ease that process.  
          3)DRS enforcement.  While all counties in which solid waste  
            facilities are located are required to submit DRS reports,  
            compliance is a significant issue.  Currently 65% of DRS  
            reports received by CalRecycle are not properly filed.  Just  
            under 30% (126 facilities) submitted their annual reports to  
            counties late in 2013, and 29 facilities never submitted their  
            2013 annual report and remain out of compliance.   









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          There have been a number of high profile violations over the  
            last several years.   Earlier this year, four former employees  
            of the Ox Mountain Landfill in San Mateo County were charged  
            with grand theft of nearly $1.4 million.  The employees  
            misclassified construction waste as green waste and illegally  
            collected fees on the material from landfill customers.  The  
            defendants are also accused of misrepresenting the weight of  
            materials disposed of by certain customers and stealing the  
            difference between the amount they charged consumers and the  
            amount paid to the landfill.   

          In 2014, a jury ordered Recology (a waste management company) to  
            repay $1.3 million to San Francisco ratepayers for bonuses it  
            received in 2008 from the city for meeting recycling goals.   
            The jury found that the bonus was paid based on false  
            information provided by Recology to the city.  This case is  
            currently pending appeal.  

          Also in 2014, the Kern County District Attorney filed suit  
            against Benz Sanitation for illegally disposing of solid waste  
            on property east of the company's Tehachapi recycling  
            facility.  This case is pending.  In 2012, Benz Sanitation was  
            fined $2.375 million for falsifying records.  The company  
            collected residential and commercial solid waste from Los  
            Angeles County, created fraudulent documents showing that the  
            trash was generated in Kern County and disposed of the  
            material in Tehachapi Landfill in Kern County, thereby  
            avoiding disposal fees for either county. 

          In 2008, a number of employees of the Kirby Canyon Landfill in  
            San Jose were involved in a bribery scheme in which a waste  
            hauler, Resource Development Services, bribed the workers to  
            allow his trucks to pay reduced landfill fees.  Six employees  
            were arrested, and five were fired but not charged.  An  
            internal investigation found that Waste Management, the owner  
            of the landfill, lost more than $13 million in revenue.  









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          CalRecycle administers similar enforcement provisions in its  
            tire management program.  CalRecycle is tasked with ensuring  
            the safe management of tires in California, including the  
            upkeep of a waste tire manifest system. The tire manifest  
            system has similar enforcement provisions to those in this  
            bill.  CalRecycle is authorized to assess administrative  
            penalties of up to $10,000 a day for violations of hauling and  
            manifest requirements.  According to CalRecycle, increased  
            administrative penalty authority has resulted in a consistent  
            decrease in violations since 2009.
          4)Suggested amendment.  The bill includes a drafting error that  
            references the former California Integrated Waste Management  
            Board, which was eliminated in 2006 and replaced by  
            CalRecycle.  In order to maintain consistency in the bill and  
            avoid confusion, the committee may wish to amend the bill to  
            correct this reference.  


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Californians Against Waste 


          Rural County Representatives of California




          Opposition


          None on file









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          Analysis Prepared by:Elizabeth MacMillan / NAT. RES. / (916)  
          319-2092