New Research Shows Eagle Mountain Landfill Would Needlessly Despoil Crown JewelJoshua Tree National Park

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 26, 2005
Contact:   Howard Gross, California Desert Program Manager, NPCA, 760-366-3035, 760-219-4916 (cell)


New Research Shows Eagle Mountain Landfill Would Needlessly Despoil Crown JewelJoshua Tree National Park

JOSHUA TREE, CA - The non-partisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today delivers a petition to the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (SDLAC) with more than 14,000 signatures opposing the proposed Eagle Mountain garbage dump, which would threaten Joshua Tree National Park, and questions the need for the landfill entirely based on new research outlined in its latest position paper, “Don’t Trash Joshua Tree National Park: More Recycling and Diversion Needed, Not Eagle Mountain Mega-Dump,” also released today.

“Today’s meeting provides a good opportunity to share with the Sanitation board our concerns and those of more than 14,000 people across the nation who love Joshua Tree National Park and do not want to see the park fall victim to the unnecessary Eagle Mountain Landfill,” said Howard Gross, NPCA’s California Desert program manager. “It also allows us to present our research to these decision-makers and stimulate new thinking about the need for this dump.”

NPCA’s position paper, “Don’t Trash Joshua Tree National Park,” makes the point that not only would making one of the nation’s crown jewels neighbor to the world’s largest garbage dump inflate the population of predators who prey on the threatened desert tortoise and introduce light, air, and noise pollution into the park; but, it is unnecessary.

According to NPCA’s research, SDLAC can more than meet growing trash-management needs for decades to come with the Mesquite Landfill and through increased recycling and diversion rates. NPCA’s research shows that the Mesquite Landfill, along with other currently operating landfills can adequately meet the county’s projected demand through at least 2018. In addition, if countywide diversion rates are increased beyond 50 percent—already achieved elsewhere in California and across the nation—SDLAC can expect a surplus of waste disposal capacity for decades.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Timlin overturned the federal land exchange approved by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and needed by project proponents for the proposed Eagle Mountain garbage dump to move forward. Judge Timlin ruled in favor of plaintiffs, including NPCA and Donna and Lawrence Charpied, on several points, stating that the BLM’s approval of the land exchange was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law.” Judge Timlin found the BLM failed to properly consider the potential value of public land being exchanged; did not fully consider whether the land exchange is in the public interest; failed to adequately define the purpose and need for the project, or analyze a reasonable range of alternatives; and inadequately addressed the impact the dump would have on bighorn sheep and the desert ecosystem.

The court’s decision is a major setback for the project and if it is not overturned, SDLAC could walk away from their deal with project developer Kaiser Ventures, LLC, since the final sale of the landfill is contingent upon successful and timely resolution of legal challenges against the dump.

“The American public does not want a garbage dump in the arms of an American icon and our research shows this dump is unnecessary,” said Gross. “Judge Timlin has provided the sanitation districts with a chance to pursue other options. For the sake of the park, we hope they do so.”

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