PETITION TO SUPPORT AB 742: PROTECT SACRED SITES OF THE PENCHANGA BAND OF LUISENO INDIANS:
AB 742 Protect Pechanga Sacred SitesRead the petition
August 15, 2011
California State Assembly Members and Senators
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: SUPPORT for AB 742 (B. Lowenthal)
Dear Assembly Member and Senator:
I write today to ask you to support AB 742 (B. Lowenthal). AB 742 is an important measure which would provide greater protection for Native American sacred sites by adding aggregate operations to the list of mining activities prohibited near such sites; specifically the project which threatens the creation place of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. This legislation will also help to protect the Santa Margarita River, the 4,500 acre Santa Margarita Ecological Preserve of San Diego State University, and the Quality of Life for residents in the communities of Temecula, Murrieta, Fallbrook and Rainbow.
This specific article of legislation will not affect mining anywhere else in the state.
Granite Construction Company has applied to the County of Riverside for a Surface Mining Permit to produce 5 million tons aggregate (crushed rock) per year from the proposed Liberty Quarry. The proposed quarry would have a working surface area equivalent to 17 football fields and a depth twenty feet less than the Empire State Building is tall. This would be one of the largest open-pit hard rock mines in the United States and it would also be located at the Pechanga and Luiseño Place of Creation.
The referenced site, while critical to the Pechanga and the Luiseño, is important to the people of the Temecula Valley. Tourism is a critical element in the Temecula Valley, employing 6,600 people directly, providing services to 67,000 visitors per month with an estimated annual impact of 605 million dollars per year. A recent report by the Rose Institute of Claremont McKenna College estimated a negative impact of a minimal impact on tourism of 60.5 million dollars. When considering all costs, the Rose Institute estimated an annual cost to the community of over 80 million dollars. While the quarry might create 99 new jobs, it would destroy at least 660 existing jobs in the tourism industry alone.
It is because of these potential impacts as well as impacts on air quality, water quality and traffic, and the loss of the only remaining wildlife linkage between the Santa Ana mountains and inland mountain ranges, that over 30,000 valley residents have signed petitions seeking to prevent the quarry. In addition, over 520 Businesses and Non-Government Organizations have signed up opposing the quarry. These businesses are joined by 159 local physicians opposing the quarry.
The proposed “Liberty Quarry” project would mark the end of the LAST wild river of Southern California and with it the region’s LAST wildlife corridor between the coastal Santa Ana Mountains and inland Palomar Mountains. Granite Construction’s project would degrade this LAST section of living, vital land., which is filled with the living history of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. The area of living earth which Granite has targeted for destruction is part of a greater area which is replete with all the plant and animal life unique to our area. Destruction of the living earth for the sake of profit is easy, and also forever.
Stewardship of this unique gift of a vital, dynamic, living ecosystem for generations to come may be the more difficult route. It is also what the community wants, what the voters want, and what is right for future generations.
Should the quarry go forward its legacy will be the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources, degradation of the environment, and the birth of long-lasting animosity towards all who would have permitted the project. There are currently over thirty thousand signatories who have expressed their desire to NOT have this project in their community. Other sources for aggregate currently exist in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties.
I respectfully ask you to preserve the Earth and Sky which are Sacred to both Native Americans and to those of us who have made this great land our home. Do not let Granite Construction destroy this land, malign your electorate, and put the business plan of one corporation above the will of thousands who live in the community. Please support AB 742 and help to ensure the preservation of this sacred site for generations to come.