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Public provides comments on Gregory Canyon landfill permit application

Published Feb. 6, 2013
One of the speakers at the Gregory Canyon landfill public hearing held Jan. 31 at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido expresses his opinion on the issues the Corps should consider while determining whether or not to issue an environmental permit that will allow work on the landfill to proceed.

One of the speakers at the Gregory Canyon landfill public hearing held Jan. 31 at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido expresses his opinion on the issues the Corps should consider while determining whether or not to issue an environmental permit that will allow work on the landfill to proceed.

Bill Miller (left) and Col. Mark Toy (center) listen to testimony about the proposed Gregory Canyon landfill provided during the public hearing held Jan. 31 at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Nearly 80 speakers spoke in favor of and in opposition to the Corps approving the permit.

Bill Miller (left) and Col. Mark Toy (center) listen to testimony about the proposed Gregory Canyon landfill provided during the public hearing held Jan. 31 at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Nearly 80 speakers spoke in favor of and in opposition to the Corps approving the permit.

ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- Nearly 400 people attended a public hearing Jan. 31 at the California Center for the Arts here on a permit application for the proposed Gregory Canyon landfill near Pala, providing scientific data, historical information and personal perspective, both for and against the controversial project.

During the nearly three-and-a-half hour hearing, about 80 speakers representing elected officials, government agencies, business groups, environmental organizations and themselves gave comments to Col. Mark Toy, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, the agency in charge of issuing, modifying or denying the permit.

“As many of you know, we recently extended the public comment period to submit written comments until April 15th, giving agencies and the public an additional 60 days to comment,” Toy said in his introductory remarks. “The Corps will carefully and fully consider all comments that we receive for the proposed project as part of our final permit decision.”

The Corps held the hearing as part of the process to determine whether the proposed project is the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative for a San Diego County landfill that will receive up to one million tons of waste material annually and up to 30 million tons in total.

The review process will study impacts on water quality, endangered species, cultural resources, economics and flood hazards, among other issues.

“The Corps determined that this proposed project could result in significant impacts due to the nature and scope of the proposed activities involving impacts to Corps jurisdiction and therefore requires an Environmental Impact Statement or EIS,” Toy said.

Bill Miller, the Corps regulatory project manager for the Gregory Canyon permit application, described the ongoing process to attendees and moderated the public comment period.

“It was a good meeting with the public actively engaged,” Miller said. “They were passionate about their concerns and were willing participants in the process whether for or against. They really engaged in a healthy way.”

The Corps will continue to accept public comment on the matter until April 15. Comments can be sent to gregorycanyonEIS-SPL@usace.army.mil or to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, Regulatory Division, Carlsbad Field Office, Attention: Gregory Canyon, 5010 Hidden Valley Road, Suite 105, Carlsbad, CA 92011.