On August 27, 2001, Department of Interior designated the Fresno Sanitary Landfill as a National Historic Landmark. The next day, Secretary Gail Norton "temporarily" rescinded the designation, claiming that the department was not aware of the landfill's Superfund status. For many people, the naming of a landfill as an historic landmark seemed ludicrous. For others, the designation offered an opportunity to pillory the Bush administration for its increasingly unpopular environmental policies. What got lost sight of was why the nomination was made in the first place, and if it had any merit as a historically significant site. The controversy also exposed the inability of people to take the waste issue seriously, to view it as an integral part of the process of living, and thus to conceive it as culturally and historically important.
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