FRESNO (CBS/AP) — California officials are recommending allowing a major expansion of the largest hazardous waste dump in the western United States, even though some residents blame the dump for birth defects.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control announced on Tuesday that it has issued a draft expansion permit that would allow the landfill near Kettleman City to expand by 5 million cubic yards.

READ MORE: 49ers Win Wild Card 23-17 as Time Runs Out for Cowboys in Frantic Finish

The landfill, which is operated by Chemical Waste Management, currently houses 10 million cubic yards of hazardous waste.

READ MORE: 1 Killed, 2 Injured in Sonoma County Crash on Route 116

Environmental organizations and residents have opposed the expansion of the 1,600-acre landfill for years. The landfill has been fined by state and federal agencies.

The dump’s owners say there’s no evidence linking the facility to the birth defects and cancer-causing chemicals there were too low to affect the nearby community.

MORE NEWS: French Bulldog Stolen at Gunpoint During Castro Valley Armed Robbery

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)