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Army Corps To Hear Public Comment On Gregory Canyon Landfill

California has a goal to recycle 75 percent of its waste by the year 2020, and as a result, few new landfills are being developed.

But this week the Army Corps of Engineers will hear public comment on its draft report for a federal permit to build a new landfill in Gregory Canyon.

Aired 1/28/13 on KPBS News.

This week marks a milestone in the decades-long debate over whether to develop a new landfill in San Diego’s North County. The Army Corps of Engineers will hear public comment on its draft EIR for Gregory Canyon, one of very few new landfills in the pipeline for a permit in California.

Map of proposed Gregory Canyon landfill, near Highway 76, east of Interstate 15

The project has been in the works for nearly two decades. The state signed off on the permit two years ago.

Mark Oldfield of CalRecycle, the state agency overseeing waste disposal in California, said it was one of only two permits for new landfills he’s seen recently.

“There are not a lot of new landfills coming on line right now,” Oldfield said. “We‘re currently reviewing two permit revisions for existing facilities. However we do continue to have a need for safe and environmentally sound landfill capacity to meet future needs, as we gradually reduce our reliance on landfills.”

The Army Corps says they've permitted activities around about 40 landfills in Southern California over the past 15 years, but these were all expansions of existing sites.

Gregory Canyon is in rural land near the San Luis Rey River, east of Interstate 15.

Opponents, including the neighboring Pala Band and environmental groups, have spent more than $6 million to stop it. The company that hopes to develop it has spent more than $60 million.

A big turn out is expected at the hearing in the California Center for the Arts, Escondido on Thursday evening.

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