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San Diego Tribes Unite To Fight Proposed Gregory Canyon Landfill

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Aired 6/4/10

Local tribes are uniting to try to stop the proposed landfill near the Pala Indian Reservation. They worry trash would destroy the land, contaminate groundwater, and pollute the San Luis Rey River.

Local tribes are uniting to try to stop the proposed landfill near the Pala Indian Reservation. They worry trash would destroy the land, contaminate groundwater, and pollute the San Luis Rey River.

The 308-acre landfill would be developed on 1,770 acres just south of the San Luis Rey River, off of State Route 76 and about three miles east of Interstate 15.
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Above: The 308-acre landfill would be developed on 1,770 acres just south of the San Luis Rey River, off of State Route 76 and about three miles east of Interstate 15.

Doug Elmets, spokesman for the Pala Band of Mission Indians, said the land is also a sacred pilgrimage site for spiritual guidance. "It’s a travesty really when you think that a sacred site, much like a church, is going to potentially be desecrated with a landfill.”

Elmets said tribes shouldn't have to fight to preserve their cultural history and natural resources.

Nancy Chase, spokeswoman for Gregory Canyon Limited, said the tribes' claims are false. "They base their claim of sacredness on a tribal God, which is a bird called Takwic. You’d have to wipe out development throughout Southern California because Takwic flew everywhere."

Chase said tribe members have never had access to the site or used it for tribal gatherings, "or any of the various things they’re claiming,” she said.

Voters countywide approved a measure in 1994 to allow the landfill. In 2004, voters rejected a measure to block it.

The project needs Army Corps of Engineer approval to move forward.

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