Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gregory Canyon Landfill challenge dismissed

San Diego Union Tribune
June 22, 2011

PALA — A state agency has dismissed a challenge made by opponents of the long-sought Gregory Canyon landfill  in rural North County, saying that a recent decision to recommend the issuance of a Solid Waste Permit by San Diego County was based on a sound and legally complete application.

That recommendation must still be approved by Cal Recycle, the state agency that oversees landfill development.

Just last week a lawsuit was filed by opponents of the landfill challenging the county’s decision, a move that almost guarantees another delay of the project, which has been in development for nearly two decades.

The landfill would be built about three miles east of Interstate 15 just south of state Route 76 in a canyon west of Gregory Mountain. Several environmental groups concerned about the effect a trash dump might have on the San Luis Rey River, and the Pala Indians, whose reservation lies just to the east, have been fighting the plans since the 1990s.

The challenge to the county’s approval of the permit came from the Pala Indians who maintain the landfill would be built near sacred land.

To complicate matters further, a bill in Sacramento that would prohibit building landfills near a river or near sacred Indian sites is working its way through the Legislature this summer. If it passes and is signed by the governor, it to would likely become the subject of a lawsuit by Gregory Canyon Ltd., the would-be developers who have spent more than $60 million on the project already.

The developers have said they are committed to the project and have worked too hard to ever give up.

Even with the issuance of a Solid Waste Permit, several other key permits are still needed before construction could begin.

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