January 31 Escondido Hearing Could Determine Future of Gregory Canyon Landfill

January 24, 2013

On January 31, the Army Corps of Engineers will hold a hearing to receive comments from the public regarding whether to grant a permit to the proposed Gregory Canyon landfill in north San Diego County. The hearing provides the public the opportunity to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed landfill prepared and released by the Army Corps pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. The landfill is opposed by a vast coalition of Native American tribes, conservationists, and public health and wildlife advocates. Opponents have been fighting the landfill for more than 20 years.

WHAT: Public hearing regarding the Army Corps of Engineers’ draft           environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Clean Water Act permit for the proposed Gregory Canyon landfill.

For more information go to www.savegregorycanyon.org.

WHEN: Thursday, January 31, 2013
6:00 p.m.

WHERE: California Center for the Arts
340 North Escondido Boulevard
Escondido, CA 92025

ATTENDEES: Robert Smith, Tribal Chairman, Pala Band of Mission Indians
Shasta Gaughen, Environmental Director, Pala Band of Mission Indians
Damon Nagami, Director, NRDC Southern California Ecosystems Project

The Pala Band of Mission Indians along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Health Coalition, the Sierra Club, RiverWatch and other concerned groups and individuals urge the Army Corps to reject the permit application because the landfill is not in the public interest. Denial of this permit could finally end the more than two decades of fighting to stop the project.

The proposed landfill could not be situated in a more inappropriate site. Gregory Canyon drains to the San Luis Rey River, a source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of San Diego County residents. The landfill site would almost certainly contaminate the river, and also threatens two existing pipelines that transport drinking water into the county. The canyon also serves as critical habitat for at least 150 wildlife species, including four federally listed endangered species. Most offensive of all, burying 30 million tons of garbage in the canyon would desecrate Gregory Mountain and Medicine Rock, two sites sacred to Native Americans.

“The fight to save Gregory Canyon has lasted nearly a quarter of a century, but the Save Gregory Canyon Coalition’s resolve is as strong as ever,” said Robert Smith, Chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians. “We will do whatever it takes to make sure that the Army Corps understands that garbage and water do not mix, and putting a dump on the banks of the San Luis Rey River and on the sides of Gregory Mountain is not in the public’s best interest.”

The Pala Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized tribe whose reservation is located along the Palomar Mountain range approximately 30 miles northeast of San Diego. The majority of the over 900 tribal members live on the 12,000-acre reservation, established for Cupeño and Luiseño Indians, who consider themselves to be one proud people - Pala.  

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

Pala Band of Mission Indians

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