Figuring out where LA's garbage goes is beyond my pay grade, but I do know that it's a bad idea to bury it next to a national park. I found out about this peculiar plan years ago - and, by the way, what is it about people who think anything that's empty, regardless of location, should have stuff in it? - during my explorations of Joshua Tree National Park.
It was on one of my trips that I met Donna and Larry Charpied, a delightful pair of organic jojoba farmers who live at the park's edge and have become the unofficial guardians of this enchanting enclave. They had drawn a line in the sand, single-handedly battling the Ontario-based Kaiser Ventures and the Bureau of Land Management via do-it-yourself law books over a plan to build the country's largest landfill in the canyons of Eagle Mountain near the south side of the park.
I began writing about the situation when I first met Donna and Larry, and have since chronicled their two-decade, mostly self-financed campaign to stop the dump, in various venues, including here, and in my book Joshua Tree: Desolation Tango.
Over the years, the Charpieds have been joined by various organizations and pro bono lawyers, and were recently featured on Huell Howser. His coverage brought much, and long-deserved, attention to the magic jojoba oil that Donna and Larry make at their carefully tended farm populated by plants that came from Adam and Eve, a pair of seeds from the region.
Several years ago, Donna Charpied won the Minerva Hoyt award, named for the Pasadena socialite whose efforts led to establishment of what was then Joshua Tree National Monument. Senor Howser threw them a fantastic bash at his magnificent desert hacienda, and many of the area's park fans and personnel joined in the celebration. Since Hoyt's epic campaign, no one has fought more fiercely for the region than the Charpieds. Along with their allies, they have won every round in the courts, up to and including a verdict that put the kibosh on the mine in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, as I wrote about last year on this site.
But now comes word that Kaiser is asking the Supreme Court to consider this case. If you're thinking of not voting on Tuesday, understand that it matters very much who sits on the Supreme Court - and quite possibly there will be appointments coming up in the next couple of years. It's one thing for Clarence Thomas to have made bizarre jokes about pubic hair on coke cans, but the prospect of seeing them strewn around the park's perimeter because they have escaped from a dump - or even of knowing that they are lining the park's edge under the surface - is not the experience we seek at our parks, nor is it what parks deserve or were made parks for. Of course many other problems could result from the construction of a mega-dump in this locale. For exactly what, read the above links, and also see this for information about Kaiser's decision to file an appeal.
And while you're at it, buy some jojoba oil from the Charpieds. Yes, it will change your life!