Proponents Say Again Project is Imminent
J. Harry Jones, January 2,
Despite a sea of regulatory and legal hurdles, the
company behind the long-planned and much-debated Gregory Canyon
landfill in North County has always expressed optimism that
the dump would be built in the near future.
20 years after the landfill was first proposed, Gregory Canyon
Ltd. is making its boldest prediction yet: demolition and
pre-grading within a few months, construction by late summer
and a fully operational landfill in 2015.
and there are many are scoffing.
nonsense, said one.
latest timetable was included in an announcement recently
posted on the Gregory Canyon web- site, saying the company
has reached an agreement with several private equity
sources to finance the next round of development work
and acquire the final permits for the landfill.
project is in the final stages of the permit process and anticipates
demolition and pre-grading activities to begin in the first
quarter of 2014 with full construction activities beginning
in the third quarter, the announcement states. Project
management is estimating the landfill will be in operation
Chase, longtime spokeswoman for Gregory Canyon Ltd., declined
to elaborate or answer any questions Friday, saying she hadnt
been authorized to comment.
critics were quick to poke holes in the idea that construction
could begin soon.
of the project have heard these claims numerous times over
the last decade and they will continue to fight the project
vigorously in all venues, said attorney Walter Rusinek,
who represents the Pala Band of Mission Indians, one of the
landfills biggest foes.
press clippings reveal several predictions of imminent landfill
openings dating back to the year 2000 and continuing throughout
recent estimate is beyond rosy and a truly
unrealistic vision, agreed Everett DeLano, a lawyer
who represents the environmental group Riverwatch, which has
also been battling the dump plans for years.
Canyon Ltd. estimates it has spent nearly $60 million so far
on its efforts to build the landfill. The company has consistently
said the project is needed to meet the regions future
trash needs and that trucking trash to faraway landfills creates
project still needs to obtain numerous permits, some of which
cant start being processed until the Army Corps of Engineers
determines if drainage from the landfill will negatively impact
waters of the United States, specifically the
nearby San Luis Rey River.
Corps issued a draft environmental report in 2011 and has
been reviewing comments ever since.
Fuderer, a spokesman for the federal agency, said last week
the process is on hold as the Corps waits for information
from the developers contractor regarding some issues
raised in the public comment period.
on that response, the Corps could then ask for further studies
or finally start drafting a final environmental impact statement.
then, a final report will be subject to more public review
and analysis by the government before a final decision is
made whether to issue a permit a decision which could
then be appealed in court.
That means the likelihood of breaking ground in 2014 appears
to be a long shot.
landfill would cover 308 acres of a 1,770-acre piece of property
near Gregory Mountain about 3 miles east of Interstate 15
and just south of state Route 76 and the San Luis Rey River.
say North County needs a landfill and that it will be a state-of-the-art
facility that will never leak pollutants into the ground.
which include the Pala Indians, several environmental
groups and some municipalities say the dump is an environmental
disaster waiting to happen and that it is foolish to think
a landfill built near a river wouldnt cause problems.
Pala Indians also are concerned with the dumps location
near sacred grounds and many worry about the traffic effects
hundreds of trash and water trucks a day would have on the
already congested state Route 76.
most land-use decisions outside municipal boundaries, the
countys board of supervisors has no say in what happens.
1994, voters approved a measure, Proposition C, that amended
the countys general plan and zoning ordinance to allow
a landfill without a major-use permit, thereby streamlining
the projects approval and removing supervisors from
the decision-making. Ten years later, landfill opponents drafted
and sponsored a second voter initiative, Proposition B, seeking
to invalidate the 1994 initiative. It failed, 64 percent to
of dollars were spent by both sides on the votes.
Nagami, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense
Council, another opponent, called the latest prediction more
of the same bluster
Gregory Canyon Landfills
announcement is sheer nonsense.