Temporary reprieve for sacred site

A site in San Diego County California that is deemed culturally and environmentally sensitive by Indians was given a respite from being turned into a landfill.

The Pala Band of Mission Indians, whose community sits two miles away from the site, and an environmental group, objected to the application to operate the proposed 1,770-acre landfill filed from Gregory Canyon Landfill Ltd of San Diego, the tribe said in a press release.

A San Diego County public agency rescinded its previous green light on the application after the tribe and the Natural Resources Defense Council pointed out the lack of financial responsibility and other inaccuracies in the application, the tribe said in the press release.

The landfill has been a subject of dispute since at least the 1990s and the subject of court actions, including an order by a superior court to make corrections on a mandated environmental impact report and conform to the law in 2006, according to county records.

The proposed landfill is located in an area that Pala people consider sacred and home of a restless spirit named Taakwic, who appears in a ball of fire to collect the souls of the dead. The landfill threatens surface and groundwater supplies, which includes a habitat for several sensitive and endangered species and would create traffic congestion and other problems in the serene area if constructed, according to the tribe.

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