The Supreme Court today denied a petition by Kaiser Eagle Mountain Inc. in its quest to operate a landfill near Joshua Tree National Park. The company filed an appeal to the Supreme Court claiming that the 9th Circuit Court wrongfully ruled in favor of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and concerned citizens Donna and Larry Charpied in 2009. In that earlier ruling, the 9th Circuit decided that a land swap between the company and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)--which was necessary for the company to operate the landfill--was conducted illegally. More specifically, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that the BLM broke the National Environmental Policy Act when it constructed the "purpose and needs"statement in its evaluation of the project based on the goals of the company, and not the BLM's own goals.
Although ruling against the landfill project, the 9th Circuit was also critical of the Charpieds, disagreeing with their claim that BLM's assessment of impacts on Bighorn Sheep was inadequate and questioning their legal standing. Regardless, the Charpieds and the NPCA persisted against the Eagle Mountain landfill as the company appealed to the highest court. The persistence paid off today when the Supreme Court agreed with the 9th Circuit's overall decision against the company, killing the Eagle Mountain landfill proposal.
The Supreme Court's decision comes a month after the Department of the Interior announced that it would not argue in favor of the company, reversing its longstanding support for the project. If the company were permitted to operate the landfill, it would truck 20,000 tons of garbage to the dump each day during 24 hour operations. The traffic would add to air pollution, and the garbage would support a larger raven population, which would prey upon endangered tortoises in the Joshua Tree National Park.