U.S. ACOE Permit Information
On September 24, 2015, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a Public Notice that GCL, LLC, the new owner of the Gregory Canyon property, had filed a new application for a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit. A new application was needed because the previous application had been withdrawn by the Army Corps in April of 2014 due to the applicant’s failure to provide necessary information to complete the environmental impact statement (“EIS”) and the permit review.
The notice stated that comments on the project could be filed by October 24, 2015. It also stated that comments previously submitted on the draft EIS did not need to be resubmitted to be considered. A copy of the DEIS can be found at the Army Corps’ website: http://www.pcrnet.com/GC/DEIS/_Start_Menu.html.
The Pala Band, the City of Oceanside, NRDC and other opponents also filed comments during the new Public Notice comment period. Those documents can be found here.
The comments submitted on the new Public Notice reiterated arguments made on the draft EIS that publicly available data from CalRecycle show there is sufficient landfill capacity in the County and neighboring areas and that the amount of waste being disposed is trending downward. That information shows that the proposed landfill is unnecessary and that its approval would not be in the public interest.
The new comments also pointed out that the Army Corps’ January 2014 letter to the applicant had identified significant problems with the information included in the draft EIS that was provided for public comment. The deficient information identified by the Army Corps was enough to warrant the preparation of a supplemental draft EIS for public review and comment. But, the comments also provided numerous examples of other misleading or missing information in the draft EIS that the Corps’ letter had not listed, which further supported the need for the Corps to prepare a supplemental draft EIS for public review and comment.
The comments also stated that the Army Corps must consider as an alternative to the proposed landfill the construction of an anaerobic digestion/composting facility on the site, as proposed by the Pala Band in its comments, or a similar non-landfill project on or off the site. Such an alternative waste management project would satisfy the need for the project and would avoid impacts to waters of the United States. That would make such an alternative the “least environmentally damaging practicable alternative” (“LEDPA”) under the Clean Water Act. The Army Corps can only approve a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit for a project that is the LEDPA.
It is now up to the Army Corps to take the correct action and issue a supplemental draft EIS for public review and comment. We will keep you posted on new developments.
California Coastal Commission documents