PROPOSED GREGORY CANYON LANDFILL Why it matters to you Presented to San Diego Chapter, Surfrider Foundation by: Ted Griswold Environmental Attorney, Procopio April 21, 2010 Where is it? Location: San Luis Rey Watershed San Luis Rey River Gregory Canyon May 19, 2005 What is it? Proposed Landfill Project Elements • A privately constructed and operated solid waste landfill • Operating for 30 Years; 1 Million Tons of Trash per Year • Closure another 30 years • Line bottom of landfill with double liner • Excavation of earthen materials to a depth just above groundwater Project Elements (continued) • Monitoring wells between the bottom of the landfill and groundwater • Build Wall of Trash above the San Luis Rey • Set aside 1330 Acres of Open Space as part of Project • ―Recycling Facility‖ • Trash source: No Restrictions (seeking contracts from local cities and LA, OC, Riverside Counties) How Did a Landfill End Up Proposed for This Location? SITING PROCESS • Gregory Canyon was rejected multiple times as a potential landfill site by: – public process – county landfill siting studies – San Diego County resolutions Rationale Provided for Rejecting Gregory Canyon as Proposed Landfill Site • Danger to Water Source • Cultural Resource Impacts • Endangered and Threatened Species, Impacts • Insufficient Size, too finite • Seismic Stability • Land Use Inconsistency HOW GREGORY CANYON BECAME A LANDFILL SITE • 1988 – Gregory Canyon Site purchased by proponents ($1MM) • Proponent rebuffed in attempts to site landfill at GC, withdraws site as a candidate • 1994 –Proponents funded Proposition C ―Recycling and Solid Waste Disposal Initiative‖ • December 1994 financial report concluded that proponents spent approximately $900,000 • No money spent in opposition because of poor socioeconomics of the area at that time Why are we concerned? Why should you be concerned? • Cultural Impacts—Sacred Sites • Water Quality—Latent Danger • Water Supply Endangerment • Endangered Species/Habitat Impacts • Air Quality • Traffic Impacts CULTURAL IMPACTS OF THE PROJECT • Destruction of Gregory Mountain (Chokla) - Sacred Mountain to the Luiseno people - Pala, Pechanga, Rincon, Pauma and La Jolla tribes, among others • Medicine Rock - Eligible for the National Registry of Historic Sites - Registry pending Gregory Mountain (“Chok’la”) Medicine Rock San Luis Rey River Water Quality Concerns • Proximity to San Luis Rey River • Perched over Groundwater Resource • Leakage Concerns • Seismic Stability • Loss of Tributary to San Luis Rey River GREGORY CANYON PROPOSED LAND USES Water Quality • The Liner System Water Supply Concerns • Endangerment of Aqueducts • Groundwater Depletion • Groundwater Contamination GREGORY CANYON PROJECT PLAN Landfill Footprint San Diego Aqueduct San Luis Rey River Borrow Pits Endangered Species/Habitat Impacts • Endangered Species: Impacts to critical habitat for least Bell’s Vireo, arroyo toad, southwest willow flycatcher, California gnatcatcher, Steelhead • Proposed Pre Approved Mitigation Area in County North County MSCP • Direct and Indirect Impacts Air Quality • Degradation—Dust, fumes • Water needed to control, but no water source So What is The Latest on this Project? • CEQA Challenges • 404 Permit/ ESA Section 7 Consultation • NEPA Review • Water Supply Needs • Air Quality Permits CEQA CHALLENGES TO LANDFILL Draft EIR found Inadequate because. . . . • Double Dipping of Habitat Mitigation Area • Traffic Impacts Not Adequately Addressed • Water Source Not Addressed The Water Source Saga • Needed for Dust Control, Compaction • Maximum 193 acre feet per year • Not in an imported water service area • Appropriative water permit applied for in 1996, later abandoned • Riparian Water Rights attempts (limited to parcel with rights) The Water Source Saga (continued) • Attempts to use of Onsite Production Wells from Dairies (Limited to parcels with wells) • Attempt to Annex into SDCWA (rejected) • Olivenhain Municipal Water District Reclaimed Water Agreement – OMWD Sued, lost • Next—Using Point of Compliance Wells for production The 404 Permit Saga • Why Important? – 404(b)(1) Alternatives Analysis – ESA Section 7 Consultation – NHPA Section 106 Consultation – NEPA Review May 19, 2005 The 404 Permit Saga (continued) • Three Areas of Concern – Canyon Itself – Bridge to get to Canyon – ―Low Flow Crossing‖ for Construction • GCL Goal—Avoid Individual Permit (avoid permitting requirements) Bridge Location ―Mitigation Area‖ The 404 Permit Saga (continued) • Original Studies showed Waters of the US in the Canyon (1996, 2003), – Accepted by GCL, Corps • RII Case—For Landfills in Waters, RCRA Jurisdiction not 404 – Would lead to no 404 permit needed, LEA has decision – Corps and EPA Concurred. . . . Then – Corps Guidance Letter—‖but Liner Is Fill Activity‖ The 404 Permit Saga (continued) • 2005--In Response, GCL ―re-defines Jursidictional Waters‖ in canyon – Finds No Waters in Canyon – Rejected by Corps Staff – Congressional intervention, reversal – Back to just Nationwide Permit • Opponents push for Section 7, Individual 404 permit, NEPA Review, CEQA completion • RWQCB Seeks to Issue 401 Certification in preparation of NWP issuance for Bridge The 404 Permit Saga (continued) • Rapanos Case redefines the Nature of ―Jurisdictional Waters‖ – ―Traditionally Navigable Waters of US‖ – Non-relatively permanent waters that flow directly or indirectly into TNWs – Wetlands adjacent to but not directly abutting relatively permanent waters that flow directly or indirectly into TNWs – Wetlands adjacent to non-relatively permanent waters that flow directly or indirectly into TNWs • Bogus 2005 JD expires in October 2009 • New Jurisidctional Determination Required looking at TNW – Complicated by Lake Henshaw, City of Escondido diversion – Relevant—Steelhead use of River – Native American traditional canoes, rafts using river The 404 Permit Saga (continued) • Implications of TNW determination on the San Luis Rey --Virtually ALL Southern California streams are ephemeral or intermittent --If SLR is not TNW, 404 Jurisdiction lost on virtually all streams and their tributaries in Southern California Myths • Isn’t it already Built? – Uh, no!!! • A Liner will protect the water source! – No lined landfill has ever not leaked • It’s gone through 15 years of permitting, isn’t that enough? – Proof that this is a bad place for a landfill Myths (Continued) • It is just a special interest group against it! – Opponents to the Project include: American Civil Liberties Union Anti-Defamation League Back Country Coalition Buena Vista Audubon CA Catholic Conference CA League of Conservation Voters Diocese of San Diego Environmental Defense Environmental Defense Fund Environmental Health Coalition Fallbrook Land Conservancy Friends of Loma Alta Creek Friends of the River Grand Jury Environmental Committee Grassetti Environmental Consulting Greenaction Jewish Public Affairs Committee Land Protection Partners Law Offices of Susan M. Trager National Audubon Society National Wildlife Federation Natural Resources Defense Council Pala Mesa Resort Pala-Pauma Community Sponsor Group Presbyterian Church of San Diego RiverWatch San Diego Audubon San Diego Baykeeper San Diego Catholic Diocese San Diego County Ecumenical Conference San Diego County Water Authority San Diego League of Conservation Voters San Diego League of Women Voters San Diego Natural History Museum Senator John Burton Sierra Club Sisters of the Precious Blood The Nature Conservancy The Trust for Public Land Union of American Hebrew United Neighbors of Bonsall Urban Wildlands Group Congregations Myths (continued) Only a special interest against? Opponents to the Site as a Landfill Include: County Consultants: Endarra Group (1986), SCS County District Attorney (1992) – concluded proponent engaged Engineering (1988) in undue influence on local officials, ties to organized crime County Planning Commission (Sept. 7, 1990) County Grand Jury (Dec. 3, 1990) County DPLU Staff (July 17, 1989, Jan. 12, 1990, June 1, Fallbrook Community Planning Group and Pala-Pauma Sponsor 1990, 1991) Group (May/June 1990) Fallbrook Public Utility District Federal Bureau of Land Management (April 5, 1990) Jamul Indian Village La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians Los Coyotes Band of Indians Metropolitan Water Authority Metropolitan Water District Native American Environmental Protection Coalition Pala Band of Mission Indians Pauma Band of Mission Indians Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians Rainbow Community Planning Group, Rainbow Municipal Water District Ramona Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians San Diego County Water Authority San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board San Diego State University San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority San Luis Rey River Watershed Council Yuima Municipal Water District Myths (Continued) • There is nothing that I can do to stop it – No!! You can make a difference – Need pressure of federal elected officials to ensure integrity of 404 alternatives analysis CONCLUSION **Project Fight Continues **Allies in fight have grown, as has opposition ** Your help is appreciated—Stay Involved!! Questions?