Sacred Sites: Pechanga Protects Ancestral Landscape

By ICTMN Staff June 19, 2012
Mountain Lion

Kelcey Stricker, researcher at the San Diego State University field station, said some animals, especially mountain lions, would leave the area rather than adapt to the changes brought about by the quarry.
Sacred Sites: Pechanga Requests Prayers to Protect Ancestral Landscape From Massive Open-Pit Mine 
Members of the Pechanga Tribe of Luisano Indians request your prayers on National Sacred Places Prayer Days, observed June 16-24.
Over the past year, the tribe has ardently worked to defend its original lands from Granite Construction's proposed Liberty Quarry-an open-pit mine that would stretch 414 acres between San Diego County and the southern border of Temecula, California that is rooted in the Pechanga creation story. The tribe has called Temecula home for more than 10,000 years.
"The phrase that comes to mind first is preposterous," said Paul Macarro, the tribe's cultural coordinator, in reference to Granite's claims that the proposed quarry site is located "outside the boundaries" of the most significant places in the tribe's story, reported theNctimes.com.
In reality, the proposed quarry would gouge into a sacred mountain within the Luiseño People's place of origin. The area is home to theKammalam (ancestors in the form of rocks).
After numerous public hearings before the Riverside County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, the quarry was denied on August 31, 2011. According to Signonsandiego.com, the commission rejected the quarry due to potential health risks, such as poor air quality, and environmental hazards, like visual and noise impacts, fire and emergency response. The Tribe was not consulted by the County of Riverside on these impacts during environmental review.
But the tribe's seeming victory could be short-lived if Granite successfully submits a revised application to the mine in the near future. The Board has voted 3:2 to approve the inadequate environmental document under the California Environmental Quality Act. The decision keeps the Luiseño Ancestral Origin Landscape at risk.
Parts of this Origin Landscape have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973 as the Murrieta Creek Archaeological Area (exva Temeeku) and are also listed in the state's Sacred Lands File Inventory.
Granite Construction wants to blast into the sacred mountain to produce aggregate rock. The quarry could operate for 75 years and, even after reclamation, would remain a "permanent scar" within the sacred landscape, according to the Pechanga people. The quarry would also intrude on the headwaters of the Santa Margarita River, the last remaining free flowing river to reach the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. The giant pit would be located adjacent to the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, which also includes part of the Origin Landscape.
Kelcey Stricker, one of the San Diego State University (SDSU) researchers working at a research field station west of the proposed quarry site, said some animals, especially mountain lions, would leave the area rather than adapt to the changes brought about by the quarry including noise and light.
Furthermore, the quarry would kill the mountain and forever disturb the sanctity of this incredibly beautiful and scenic area.
Pechanga respectfully requests prayer that:
1) Efforts to permanently prevent mining in any form at this location are successful and that
2) Tribal efforts to have this Origin Landscape formally recognized and protected will be successful.
For more information on the efforts to protect the Luiseño Ancestral Origin Landscape from the Liberty Quarry, contact Paul Macarro, Pechanga Cultural Coordinator at: pmacarro@pechanga-nsn.gov or (951) 770.8102 or Jacob Mejia at: jmejia@pechanga.com or(951) 770.2595 .

Quarry Article re Riverside County and EIR

Counsel failed to protect Riverside County
Recently, based on county counsel's recommendation, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors put forward a motion to certify the environmental impact report for the Liberty Quarry project. During this item's public comment, speakers made it quite clear that if the supervisors certified the EIR, this would result in litigation against the county.
After the certification motion was made, county counsel then introduced a non-agenized amendment which, in her words, would indemnify the county regarding the costs of litigation.
So where did this indemnification document suddenly come from? It certainly wasn't part of the counsel's published recommendation.
And what due diligence was done by county counsel in advance of introducing this amendment? San Bernardino County, which also had an applicant indemnification clause, was left "holding the bag" for approximately $700,000 in legal costs when the applicant went out of business.
Did counsel mention this risk? Did counsel bring up the financial standing of Granite Construction, which lost $58.9 million in 2010? Or propose requiring Granite to post a bond in case they are not later able to pay? Answers: No, no and no.
This County Counsel has placed Riverside County at serious financial risk, and citizens weren't even given a chance to comment on it.
Linda Kent