Famed California town may have to fight yet another pollution battle

Note to pollutey people: if you want to keep a low profile, perhaps it’s wise not to situate yourself in a location made famous for being unjustly polluted. A sewage-sludge conversion plant is being planned eight miles away from Hinkley, the small California town made forever infamous by Julia Roberts’ rack in the based-on-a-true-rack film Erin Brockovich. Hinkley residents fear that the processing of 400,000 tons of sludge a year into compost could kick up bacteria-laden, illness-causing dust — not to mention an icky smell. The femme crusader herself (Brockovich, not Roberts) issued a statement opposing the plant, noting, “Citizens in this area already have compromised immune systems.” An attorney for the sludge company claimed, “The bottom line is that composting biosolids is safe. We’re far away from people and communities and from industry.” If it’s so safe, why do you need to be far away? Just asking.