Environment | Politics

Pala Band to continue battle against landfill near sacred site

The Pala Band of Mission Indians will continue to fight a proposed landfill in Gregory Canyon, a sacred site in southern California.

The tribe successfully lobbied the California Legislature to pass SB 833. The bill would have barred any landfill within 1,000 feet of the San Luis River or contributing aquifer, or within a site that is considered sacred or of cultural importance to a tribe.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said he was concerned about the importance of Gregory Canyon to the tribe. But he vetoed the bill on Sunday, saying the Legislature shouldn't interfere with a local land-used decision.

"This dispute pains me given the unspeakable injustices the native peoples have endured and the profound importance of their spirituality and connection to the land," Brown wrote in a veto message. "There's no question that more thought needs to be given to how we resolve this inherently difficult decision and to find ways for native people and their fellow Californians to coexist in an inexorably modernizing world."

"It is unfortunate that Gov. Brown has decided to go against the voice of California's Legislature in support of the Gregory Canyon landfill," Pala Chairman Robert Smith said in response, The North County Times reported. "Not only will this landfill threaten major detrimental impacts to both surface and groundwater, it will desecrate sacred Native American cultural sites."

Get the Story:
Gregory Canyon landfill project can proceed (CNS 10/11)
Governor vetoes bill to stop Gregory Canyon dump (The North County Times 10/11)
Deadline nears for action on bill that would derail Gregory Canyon landfill (The North County Times 10/8)

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