Redwood Landfill legal update

NWLE and our attorneys have been diligently working since 2005 to ensure that Marin County responsibly handles its garbage, rather than dumping it in an unlined, 1950s landfill literally located in the Petaluma marsh, at sea level, and with the knowledge that global warming is real and sea levels will rise.

In 2010, we prevailed in Marin County Superior Court on our argument that the California Environmental Quality Act required the Board of Supervisors to hear our administrative appeal, a victory that would have imposed public accountability on our elected Supervisors who have so far displayed a hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil approach to how Marin County handles its garbage.  Waste Management appealed our victory and the Court of Appeal reversed, sending our case back to the Superior Court to rule on our substantive challenges to the Environmental Impact Report.

In late 2012, the Superior Court again ruled in our favor, this time on seven out of eleven issues, including the EIR’s failure to analyze the cumulative impact of greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change, how rising sea levels would affect the precariously situated landfill, and how the County deferred mitigation to protect the landfill from rising sea levels and flooding.

Once again, Waste Management appealed and just over a week ago, the Court of Appeals ruled for the corporation and the County on all issues.  This is truly a travesty for our community.

We need your support now more than ever as we petition the state Supreme Court on these important environmental issues.    


Cal Recycle Presentation Final

Sustainable Novato’s comments letter

SN Landfill Composting Ltr-5 

NWLE’s comments letter

NWLE Comments Composting


Welcome to our new website

We are in the process of transitioning our website to “Protect Our Wetlands”.

About Us:

No Wetlands Landfill Expansion (“NWLE”) is a grassroots environmental education and advocacy organization, and recipient of a Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund grants from the Rose Foundation.

NWLE opposes the expansion of the Redwood Landfill (the “dump”) located at the edge of the Petaluma River Estuary and Marsh on the Marin and Sonoma County border, and seeks to assure the enforcement of appropriate oversight of the landfill’s current operations.

NWLE seeks to assure the protection of citizens, wildlife, and the river estuary from the negative health and environmental effects from air, water, odor, and noise pollution arising from operation of the dump.  

NWLE seeks to redirect local government’s approach to the landfill to consider it a local resource to conserve to benefit local residents instead of permitting the landfill to become a regional dump.

NWLE petitions our local government agencies to include solid waste management as a fundamental element of county and local planning, including contingency planning, closure and abatement planning, and studying and considering alternative technologies and site locations.

NWLE seeks to preserve and protect the Petaluma River Estuary and Marsh as a public educational and environmental resource for residents to appreciate its natural beauty and critical role in our local and Bay ecosystems.

On the Legal Front….

December 13, 2012 “Marin Superior Court Judge Marin Superior Court Judge Lynn Duryee has finalized a ruling which invalidates the environmental impact report that paved the way for a major expansion of Redwood Landfill in Novato”. Marin  IJ Article 

Judge Duryee’s NWLE Ruling Dec-’12

Will landfill expansion be scrapped? Pacific Sun view


Christopher Gilkerson, longstanding member of NWLE:

“We are pleased that, after many years of urging the County and the Landfill to more carefully consider and address the substantial negative environmental impacts of expanding the dump located on a marsh, the Court agreed with us that they need to do more to protect residents, the wetlands, and the environment.  Counties like Marin can no longer allow the waste business to conduct business as usual given the additional risks presented by Global Warming.”

Bruce Baum, NWLE Chair :

“The landfill is sitting in California’s largest tidal wetlands, unlined, in a flood zone, below sea level, and between two earth quake faults. Our concerns continue around the lack of a liner and inadequate levees. We hope that Marin county steps up to get the financial assurances necessary for the residents and the environment because all landfalls fail.”

“Marin group files lawsuit over Redwood Landfill decision, saying site is vulnerable to rising sea level, earthquakes”    View IJ  story June 25, 2011

“The Regional Water Board committed a clear legal error in declining to consider evidence plainly establishing that the Redwood Landfill is unlikely to remain intact over the decades.  Indeed, the Landfill is instead likely to fail in a manner that will release significant contaminated groundwater and other waste materials into San Francisco Bay” said Christopher Sproul, of Environmental Advocates, NWLE’s counsel.

Loss against the Water Board’s Approval

We challenged the July 2009 approval by the Bay Area Regional Water Quality Water Board (RWQCB) of the Water Discharge Requirements (WDR) submitted in conjunction with Redwood Landfill’s plans to dramatically expand it’s 1950s-era dump.  NWLE’s suit was overthrown on an obscure law that only allows lawsuits within 270 days after a ruling. While we waited one and a half years for the State Water Board’s refusal to hear an appeal of the WDR approval! After 21 months the State Water Board summarily refused to hear our appeal

View the Green Coalition for Responsible Waste/Resource Management’s site & principles

Thank you to the dozens of organizations and hundreds of individuals whose loyalty and support are helping us “turn the tide” against vested interest and lax denial. We continue to hold the line, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to:

No Wetlands Landfill Expansion’s  legal fund at the Rose Foundation.
Please come back soon for important updates




Other Information

Experts have documented that all landfills fail. The community is alarmed that Redwood is an unlined landfill sitting on a giant sponge that drains into the wetlands and the bay. Fifty years of unregulated hazardous waste including chemicals, mercury and other heavy metals, radioactive medical waste, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, and who knows what else are buried and leaching into the bay.

The underlying ancient sloughs are still not located or monitored. The levees are incomplete and are not high enough for the inevitable raising sea levels and larger more frequent storms predicted due to climate changes.

It’s not if but when an earthquake will cause significant damage at the dump and surrounding wetlands. Marin’s Planning Commission was so concerned that they will require the pumps to run for 100 years, long after Waste Management is gone.

We must have independent monitoring and water testing for the life of the dump—not for just 3 years as the county is requiring.

No Wetlands and 5 other groups appeal certification of the CEQA findings in the Environmental Impact review.

  • Appeal to the Marin County Board of Supervisorsview
  • Green Coalition’s comment letters view
  • Final EIR Summary Analysis of Concernsview


County Final Environmental Impact Report Amendment view


Contact your Supervisor

Contact your Supervisors with your thoughts on how the Supervisors can insert environmental and financial protections for the citizens of Marin —- Contact Link


Presentation To Sustainable Fairfax & Sustainable San Rafael 4-17-08 view

Google Earth visualization of the landfill! view

UpdatedWhite Paper -Waste Management Inc., A Trustworthy Partner for Marin? view

Updated: Comment letters to EIR view

  • Rising sea level, and the impact on the North Bayview
  • New Earthquake prediction 99% of a greater than 6.7 in next 30 yearsview
  • Wetlands in 1914 – USGS topoview

Who pays for the cleanup after an earthquake, or failure, estimates of up to $1 Billion? Waste Management’s guaranty is approximately $15 million. Marin Tax Payers will be left to pay for the clean up.

We need to impress upon our policymakers that any expansion needs to consider Risk Management not Waste Management when it comes to our wetlands.

Video of discussion with Redwood Landfill held January 3, 2009 at the Democratic Central Committee of Marin (DCCM) view

For more information or contact