Brown vetoes bill aimed at scuttling North County landfill
by Michael Gardner
San Diego Union Tribune
October 10, 2011
Gov. Jerry Brown late Sunday vetoed legislation that would have blocked a disputed landfill in North San Diego County.
His decision is a major victory for Gregory Canyon LLC, developers of the long-pursued landfill proposed along state Route 76 near the Pala Indian Reservation.
Gregory Canyon officials and their supporters claim the landfill is needed to keep pace with a growing amount of garbage, particularly in North County. They also point to two ballot measures in 1994 and 2004 where voters sided with the landfill.
“This is badly needed in North County, It was needed years ago and it will become painfully clear down the road,” Supervisor Ron Roberts said in an earlier interview.
Those behind the measure, including the Pala Band of Mission Indians and some environmental groups, called for state intervention was to preserve a Native American cultural site and to protect the San Luis Rey River from possible contamination.
"There is already in place a fully sufficient process to make a thoughtful and informed environmental decision about this project," Brown said in his veto message.
He added that he is "deeply concerned about the objections raised with respect to the sacred site. But I don't believe it is appropriate for the Legislature to now intervene and overturn this hard fought local land-use decision."
Gregory Canyon has a long and divisive history spread across the past two decades. In addition to the ballot battles, there have been court cases and objections throughout the ongoing permitting stages.
Senate Bill 833 was crafted to ban any landfill in San Diego County that is within 1,000 feet of the San Luis Rey River or that close to sites deemed sacred by American Indians.
Gregory Canyon is near the Pala Indian Reservation. The Pala Band of Mission Indians considers Gregory Mountain, known as “Chokla,” as a resting place for a tribal spirit named Takwic. A landfill would desecrate such a sacred ritual place, as well as nearby medicine rock marked with Native American pictographs, critics say.
The landfill developers say the project is state-of-the-art that exceeds all environmental protection regulations designed to prevent damage to the river and wildlife.
The landfill would span 308 acres inside a 1,770-acre parcel about three miles east of I-15 and two miles southwest of the community of Pala.