Community reacts to closure of controversial recycling plant

Community reacts to closure of controversial recycling plant »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Reaction is pouring in, less than 24 hours after Kern County's leaders shut the doors on the controversial Community Recycling & Resource Recovery plant in Lamont.

Citing a number of violations, the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday night to revoke the plant's operating permit. The board also voted to fine the facility $2.33 million for a variety of violations.

The actions came after a special public hearing on the company, which was spurred by the recent accidental deaths of two brothers who worked there.

The unanimous decision to shutter the plant is something Supervisor Karen Goh said was crucial for residents in her district.

Violations included operating rock crushers on the property, bundling shredded plastic and holding a large amount of waste outside of a landfill. Community Recycling & Resource Recovery didn't have a permit for any of those activities.

Goh said she's working to help more than 130 plant employees find other jobs.

The mother of the two brothers, Faustina Ramirez, said she believes Community Recycling & Resource Recovery is responsible for her sons' deaths.

"They didn't give them protection, and they were separators, that wasn't their job. They were just separators," said Ramirez.

Salvador Partida, the president of Community for a Better Arvin, said he couldn't be more excited to see the company finally come to a close. He said he understands that there may be a handful of employees that will be angry over the unemployment factor, but he said he would rather see people unemployed than harmed at work and dead.

Faustina said she's already in proceedings to sue the recycling center, but she said no amount of money could ever bring back what she really wants. And that's her boys.

The Community Recycling & Resource Recovery Center said in a statement Wednesday that in light of the Board of Supervisor's decision, it is making every effort to determine how to legally and safely manage the site while complying with all the obligations to the county of Kern and all state agencies having oversight for the facility.