Hello friends - it's been a long time since I've had any news to report on the status of the Gregory Canyon dump. I was hoping that my next big news would be that the dump is done, but unfortunately that's not (YET!) the case. This article, published Friday, October 17 in the Union Tribune, claims that the dump may be "back on track." http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/oct/17/gregory-canyon-landfill-soveregin-capital/

It is true that GCL has started working with Sovereign Capital Management to restructure their debt. Our team has been keeping a close eye on these developments to see what Sovereign's intentions are. Apparently they do intend to restart the Clean Water Act application with the Army Corps of Engineers. Even though this is not good news, we must remember that there are several other areas where the landfill developers are still in trouble. For example:

·         They owe two years of late property taxes to the County;
·         They owe the Air Pollution Control District over $300,000;
·         Their corporate status has been suspended with the State;
·         They must fulfill a long list of deficiencies in their Corps application for it to restart;
·         They may have to re-do the entire Corps public review process;
·         It will take AT LEAST a full year to complete the EIR for the Corps.

These are serious problems. And, of course, GCL must still face the opposition of Pala and several other tribes, all our environmental partners such as NRDC and Riverwatch, and the citizens of Oceanside and North County who care about their water supply. WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT!

I will keep you all posted on new developments as they occur. Thank you, as always, for your support.


Shasta C. Gaughen, PhD
Environmental Director/THPO
Pala Environmental Department/
Tribal Historic Preservation Office
PMB 50
35008 Pala Temecula Rd.
Pala, CA 92059



Press Enterprise

Oct. 10, 2014

Pechanga seeking historic status for tribal birthplace

Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians seeking to add their tribal birthplace, which they consider sacred ground, to the National Register of Historic Places.
 put its ancestral homeland on the National Register of Historic Places.The designation would provide a layer of protection for a large swath of acreage that includes land once eyed by Granite Construction for an open pit mine.
The homeland – called the Luiseño Ancestral Origin Landscape – covers 8.39 square miles (5,372 acres). It includes the confluence of the Murrieta and Temecula creeks, considered the wellspring of life for the Pechanga.
It also includes land around the stretch of the Santa Margarita River that meanders through the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve on its way to the Pacific and Pu’eska Mountain, the peak of the ridge that rises from the western edge of I-15.
“For Pechanga, there is no more important historic area than our creation area,” said Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro in a statement. “Accordingly, we are working to add Pu’eska Mountain and the surrounding area to the National Register of Historic Places. Our historic heritage is an inherent part of Temecula’s past, present and future, which is why we are working to preserve it for generations to come.”
On Nov. 15, 2012, a date that is celebrated in Temecula as Pu’eska Mountain Day, the tribe purchased the proposed site of what was to be called “Liberty Quarry.”
That $20 million deal, which ended a long series of oft-contentious public hearings on the project, included a provision that blocks Granite from digging a mine on territory surrounding the site through 2035.
Getting on the National Register wouldn’t provide that sort of shield against future development, but it would trigger additional state and federal review of any project proposed for acreage near the landscape.
“It doesn’t mean it’s universally protected. It prevents someone from saying, ‘Well, this isn’t significant,’” said William Burg, a state historian who works in the California State Parks Office of Historic Preservation.
The boundary for the landscape, according to the office, is plotted based on oral tradition and ethnographic literature and is significant to Luiseño traditions.
“The origin landscape is one of the most important areas for the Luiseño people: the place of their origin, the beginning of the world and place where Wuyoot, one of the first born and a prophet to the Kaamalam (first people), instructed the people on how to live and gave them their religious songs and ceremonies that are still practiced today,” according to the state’s official nomination form.
State Historian Amy Crain said a map showing a rough outline of the landscape has been included in the packet of information that was recently forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register, the office that makes the final call on whether a place is added to the register, but it’s not a public record.
“That’s somewhat protected information,” she said, citing the privacy afforded to tribes who don’t want to disclose the location of their sacred sites.
A state commission in early August approved the application and that body’s recommendation has been forwarded to the Keeper, along with letters in support and opposition from area landowners and interested parties.
Crain wouldn’t say how many letters from each side were submitted.
Bonnie Reed, who closely followed the Liberty Quarry battle, recently heard about the tribe’s application and she marshaled the forces of the Temecula Valley Historical Society and SOS Hills, a local group that fought the quarry project, in an attempt to support the application.
“I think that letters help a lot when they come directly from the communities touched by the applicant property,” she wrote in an email. “My biggest concern is the encroachment of development.”
Crain said any letters received by the state would be forwarded on to the Keeper, which should issue a ruling by the end of the month.
According to the state, the tribe’s origin landscape is eligible for listing based on four different criteria, which should bode well for the application’s fate.
SOS Hills board member Fred Bartz said Thursday the group, which represents more than 1,000 area residents, will be sending a letter of support. Dick Fox, president of the society, said his group also will be voicing its support.
“What could be more important to our history than the roots to a major society, the people who originated here?” Fox said. “ I’m 100 percent behind their application.”
Gary Johnson, a Granite project manager, said Thursday afternoon that the company has not submitted a letter for or against the application.