Press Release Aug 3, 2010

National Parks Group Praises U.S. 9th Circuit Decision to Stand-By Ruling to Protect Joshua Tree National Park from Eagle Mountain Landfill

Trash dump would have impacted park resources and wildlife

Joshua Tree, CA – The nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) applauds the July 30, 2010, decision of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to not revisit the body’s November 2009 ruling on the Eagle Mountain landfill project near Joshua Tree National Park.

Statement by Seth Shteir, senior program coordinator at the National Parks Conservation Association:

“For more than a decade, the National Parks Conservation Association has worked to protect Joshua Tree National Park from a nearby, ill-conceived development proposal, the Eagle Mountain Landfill, which could have impaired park resources and wildlife that make Joshua Tree so invaluable to local communities.

“This most recent action by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court underscores that Joshua Tree National Park is far more valuable than a garbage dump; and that by protecting it, we protect more than 700 jobs and millions of dollars in local economic activity.”

Background:

The proposed Eagle Mountain landfill would have been surrounded on three sides by Joshua Tree National Park wilderness and, as the nation’s largest landfill, would have collected up to 20,000 tons of trash per day for more than a century.

In September 2005, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Timlin ruled to overturn the federal land exchange needed for the proposed garbage dump to move forward. NPCA, represented by the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic, based their opposition to the landfill on the illegality of the land exchange as well as adverse impacts the garbage dump would have on Joshua Tree National Park and other adjacent public lands.

On November 10, 2009, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Timlin’s ruling. Earlier this year (February 2010) Interior Secretary Ken Salazar chose not to appeal the ruling overturning the Bureau of Land Management’s land exchange with Kaiser Ventures, effectively putting a halt to the Eagle Mountain landfill project near Joshua Tree National Park.

See the U.S. Ninth Circuit ruling overturning the land exchange

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About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.