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Obama Administration Recognizes Joshua Tree National Park’s Importance To The American People

Surrounded by Wilderness, the red outline depicts where 20,000 tons of Los Angeles’ garbage would be deposited daily for over 100 years. Despite claims made by the polluters, the dump will not reclaim the scars left from mining, but will actually double the size of disturbed lands by creating another scar from garbage burial. Aerial Photo Courtesy Howard Gross/NPCA, National Park Service. See end of story for an urgent fundraising appeal. The battle may be close to over, but the bill for fighting it is still coming due.


Obama Administration Recognizes Joshua Tree National Park’s Importance To The American People


Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager, CREDO Action: (415) 369-2000
Jessica Lass, Natural Resources Defense Council: (310) 434-2300
Donna or Larry Charpied, Citizens for the Chuckwalla Valley: (760) 392-4722

Eagle Mountain, CA:  On Friday,  February 25, the Obama Administration dealt a heavy blow to the proposed Eagle Mountain dump at Eagle Mountain, nestled in the arms of Joshua Tree National Park. After nearly 24 years of defending the dump in court, the Department of Interior reversed its longstanding position and opposed the dump developer’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. This substantially weakens the developer’s case and may persuade the Supreme Court to reject the petition, leaving in place lower court rulings that protect the park.

CREDO Action, the activism arm of CREDO Mobile, alerted the Public to the severe consequences to Joshua Tree National Park if the dump would go to fruition.  The Action Alerts said in part,

“…Landfill impacts have a nasty habit of creeping over borders and boundaries. And Eagle Mountain would be an especially nasty neighbor.

The landfill would take in 20,000 tons of garbage per day, 16 hours a day, six days a week, for 117 years—posing a profound threat to the desert ecosystem and imperiled species that the next-door National Park is designed to protect.

The Department of the Interior has twice sided with the developers in favor of the landfill—but so far hasn’t taken a position on their appeal to the Supreme Court. The agency’s position could impact whether or not the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case. And if that happens, it likely won’t be good news for Joshua Tree.

The Department of the Interior has a deadline of February 25th to submit its position to the Court. Secretary Salazar needs to hear from us this week that he must act to protect Joshua Tree National Park…”

“We were stunned by Kaiser Venture’s outrageous proposal and overwhelmed by the response from more than 95,000 CREDO Action members who love Joshua Tree and took action to protect it. It’s thrilling that Secretary Salazar listened to the voices of so many citizens, and made the right decision”, CREDO’s Elijah Zarlin exclaims.

Donna Charpied, a long time dump foe, desert activist, and recent recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award said she is proud of the government for not siding with the polluters again.  “This may well be the death knell for the dump project. During these times with partisan politics and brutal negativity, it is quite refreshing to witness a step in the right direction”.

Larry Charpied, speaking for Plaintiffs Desert Protection Society, and the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, is cautiously optimistic.  “We have steadfastly worked to protect Joshua Tree National Park and desert communities from this dump. The land trade BLM approved here would have literally “trashed” a spectacular national park whose outstanding natural values have earned it designation as a World Biosphere Reserve.  Shy of Yosemite Valley, I cannot think of a worse place to dump LA’s trash for the next century than the fragile desert wilderness adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park.”

The response to the action alerts put out by NRDC and CREDO provided the necessary tool for supporters of Joshua Tree National Park to reach the Obama Administration. NRDC staff attorney Damon Nagami said, ‘We have supported the efforts of those seeking to protect this majestic park for many years. Working with CREDO and desert activists to craft and publish action alerts was an effective tool to raise awareness, particularly with Secretary Salazar.”

Kaiser’s dump project would have transformed 4,654 acres of canyons south and west of Joshua Tree National Park into the world’s largest garbage dump, which would have received 20,000 tons of garbage per day, 6 days a week, for up to 16 hours per day, with dumping operations going 24 hours a day.  Kaiser would have received 3,481 acres of public lands in exchange for 2,846 acres of private land and $20,100.  The thousands of acres of undisturbed canyons that would have been covered with trash presently provide habitat for the threatened desert tortoise and sensitive bighorn sheep, and provide a spectacular visual backdrop for those hiking and camping in Joshua Tree National Park’s remote wilderness areas. Now it is time for these exchange lands to be returned to Joshua Tree National Park, where they originated.

An urgent appeal from activists Donna and Larry Charpied

Even though our attorneys are providing their services at a highly discounted rate due to the public interest nature of the case, the invoices add up. The Ninth Circuit ruled that all parties pay their own costs, and we had to respond to Kaiser in the Supreme Court.

Please send a tax deductible donation to:

Desert Protection Society
81557 Dr. Carreon Blvd Suite A-3
Indio CA 92201

The Desert Protection Society, is a not-for-profit 501(3)(c) organization (tax ID# 33-053-5779).  Please consult your tax professional for specific tax advice.

WE live in a time where we know the ramifications of NOT recycling and NOT handling toxins properly and to infect the desert with our sins is obviously wrong.  We need to Clean up our existing Landfills (DUMPS)recoup recyclables and toxins WE MUST DO THE RIGHT THING. we need volunteers and Paid govt help but we must clean up our mess one people one world one mind one way to succeed and that is together white/black, gay/str8, gringo/spanish, asian/german we must all live together on mother earth

Many years ago, I had the blessing to visit the Joshua Tree National Park.  It was moving and profound.  To have the opportunity to take part to help save this sacred place is an honor and I am so pleased with the results.  Kudos to those who created and are joining in this noble fight!

Thank you, all of you who worked so hard to save Joshua Tree, indeed a mystical, moving and profound place. My favorite desert. I am so grateful to you.

Thanks to Donna and Larry Charpied, Citizens for the Chuckwalla Valley, for being such amazing activists for so many years. We are all in your debt for your fierce vigilance in protecting Joshua Tree National Park.

also as an american i couldn’t be happier and thank all of you for your invaluable work!

Having been a long-ago resident of Joshua Tree, you have my sincere gratitude for your fight against the Eagle Mountain landfill.

The strip mining was bad enough.

I have mailed a check to help allay court costs.

Amazing job to everyone who fought to preserve Joshua Tree.

I have never been to Joshua Tree National Park although I know of many who have and they love it. Hopefully someday I’ll make the trip to see it and I’ll be glade when I do it will not be fouled by garbage.

Thank you, everybody, for all the work done to save this corner of the world. I’m just heading out there next week and will be even more appreciative of the magic I always find there.

Blessing’s and Love to all of you.  What we protect now allows us to be & have a Stong, Healthy & Vital life. We need to keep & protect the fruit’s of Mother Earth’s Spirit.  Thank you

Thanks God!!!!  I climb at the park almost on a WEEKLY basis!  EPIC WIN!!!

Thanks for all your eforts on our behalf!

Thanks to all mt friends who helped me get out and network on the internet and sending in the forms, especially Barbara Kantor in Colorado who first rattled my cage and make me aware of the assault on one of the most beautiful plkaces on Earth.

Thank you for your wonderful work!


I am thrilled for the victory! I cannot wait to return to White Tank and Jumbo Rocks- one of the most peaceful places on Earth.

We need to protect what we have today so we have a tomorrow. It is hard & most likely impossible to repair destruction

Welcome visitors! We thank you for the kind words (which we’re passing along to Donna and Larry Charpied as well) and are very glad you stopped by. Like you, we’re thrilled at this piece of good news.

If you’re interested, we do maintain a free email newsletter which you can sign up for here.

Way to go Larry and Donna! Glad to hand over my signature to help in a small way.

Thank you Donna and Larry Charpied, Citizens for the Chuckwalla Valley, for your courage and tenacity of purpose in your fight to preserve Joshua Tree National Park for all future visitors to this precious American conservation jewel.

Mal Gaffney

Very good news. Wonderful job CREDO and NRDC. We have finally got Salazar’s attention about our country and it’s beautiful national parks. There is hope for him to continue to make the right decisions.

Win!  You have my support in every way.  Let’s keep this moving forward.

Thank you for the courage and tenacity of everyone who fought the GREAT fight. I have been there several times and know that
it would have killed the whole area.If co’s had their way they would be dumping and mining in the Grand Canyon! NOW on to the
fight for the wolves, the earth-hating,money-grubbing ranchers
target. This is after we the taxpayers spent a ton in the 90’s
to reintroduce the wolf to the west. Defenders of Wildlife and
other animal conservation charities are fighting the horrid plans by BLM, including desexing alpha pairs and the Palin plan-gassing pups in the den. I rave because I wonder if anyone
in govt. has ANY sense left. Thanks for all each of you do.

My husband and I just visited Joshua Tree in January for 11 amazing days of backpacking. Although there is no good place for a landfill, I can’t imagine the government agreeing to place it next to a National Park. I’m pleased to hear they were persuaded not to.

Joshua Tree is a magical place—we who have hiked, climbed, walked, biked, yes even driven, all know that!  Keep LA’s stinkin’ garbage out of that area.  It’s enough we have to smell/see LA’s pollution come that far out, now their garbage?!

I can’t believe that any company in any developed nation would still want to simply create landfills. They need to catch up with modern technology and build power plants like those in Germany where the trash (after sorting out the recyclables, of course) is burned and turned into energy. And for anybody concerned about air pollution: the air that comes out of those plants is typically cleaner than the surrounding air. Seattle is looking into building one of those plants and many places in Canada too.

Donna & Larry—thank you for fighting our fight!

I slept in Joshua in autumn of 1997, on my way to West Coast. Incredible night sky. Magical night sounds. Breathtaking, frosty sunrise. Good to know it has won a reprieve from being despoiled by corporate thugs. Thanks to Donna, Larry, the Desert Protective Council, NRDC and all the CREDO responders!

When I first posted the partition on my FaceBook page on Feb. 23, a friend of mine living in Europe post this reply:

“I mistakenly thought that in so-called civilized countries of today garbage gets burned in incinerators to produce energy or also to recycle much of it. Garbage dumps, that sounds Stone Age. Come on, where are these politicians and the dozy people electing them!”

I had to remind him that this country is fast becomming a banana republic when it comes to the environment. Thank you, Desert Protection Society, for fighting the good fight!

Congratulations to everyone who helped in this tremendous environmental victory.  It shows that we can indeed make our voices heard when corporations seek to destroy what belongs to each and every one of us on this planet!

I have a great idea! Why don’t we close 90% of our military bases and since many of them are in remote locations in our country, we could dump all of our garbage there? We could put the military personnel that lose their jobs meting out death and destruction, and put them to work burying garbage. Or better yet, we could put many of those military personnel through school and educate them in designing recycling technologies and save our planet from the trillions of tons of plastic that we are dumping in our oceans each decade. Bury garbage not bodies! Make pits, not war!

Thankyou for stopping the shortsighted sector of how to deal with a problem.  Sifting out recycling materials back to the makers leaves us with little actual garbage, which could be crushed and formed into cubes for building sealed with something non toxic.  Now that they were told no, we have to make sure they just do not go ahead and keep doing it.

Thank you for all you have done to save one of the most beautiful, spiritual places on earth. It is a soul nurturing experiance to spend time in Joshua tree.

Thank you Donna and Larry.