Construction of the proposed landfill would result in 30 million tons of garbage being buried nearly 500 feet high in undeveloped Gregory Canyon. The pristine and undeveloped canyon contains an intermittent stream that flows into the San Luis Rey River at the mouth of the canyon. The river passes through site as it flows west to the ocean.
Because the proposed landfill would be located next to the San Luis Rey River, the 30 million tons of garbage proposed to be buried would forever threaten the critical water supplies provided by the river and the drinking water aquifers that underlie the river. Water pumped from the underground aquifers along the river is used by municipalities, including the City of Oceanside, farmers, and local residents for numerous purposes. Claims by the proponents that the proposed landfill would be engineered to ensure that no leaks of toxic leachate would ever occur are simply claims, and the fact is that the buried garbage would remain a threat to these waters long after the operators have abandoned the site.
In addition, two major water-distribution pipelines owned by the San Diego County Water Authority traverse the site next to the area where the garbage would be buried and to the borrow pit where millions of cubic yards of soil would be mined to cover the garbage. These 70-year old pipelines provide critical imported water for the County. But they would be threatened daily because every truck entering the site or hauling cover dirt from the borrow pit would cross the pipelines, and the pipelines could be damaged by the blasting that would be required to excavate materials from the proposed landfill footprint and from the borrow pit.
Construction of the proposed landfill also would result in garbage being buried high up the side of Gregory Mountain, which Native Americans call Chokla and consider to be a sacred mountain. The proposed landfill also would be adjacent to and impact Medicine Rock, another sacred site. Both of these culturally and historically important sites have been deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Sites. The proposed landfill also would be within critical habitat for four federally endangered species and within the forage range of a pair of golden eagles, which nest on the side of Gregory Mountain.
Although officials with the County of San Diego repeatedly rejected the Gregory Canyon site as an appropriate place to construct a landfill, in 1994, project proponents funded a misleading countywide ballot initiative that authorized the construction of a landfill on the site if all permits were obtained. That initiative claimed that a landfill “crisis” was imminent, although 18 years later no landfill “crisis” has appeared.
The significant impacts of the proposed landfill far outweigh any of its claimed benefits. With recycling and reuse drastically reducing the amount of waste requiring disposal (between 2005 and 2011, disposal decreased by 25 percent), the proposed landfill represents a vestige of a fading era where reusable materials were simply buried. It is time to put to rest this reckless and inappropriate project.
We encourage you to explore the fact sheets and background in more detail to find out more information about why Gregory Canyon should be preserved and the devastating consequences of allowing the project to be developed.