Success (Again) for San Onofre!

We won another victory (our fifth one!) yesterday, March 16, at the San Diego Regional Water Quality Board (RWQB.) The RWQB adopted findings that once and for all rejected Waste Water Discharge permits the Toll Road Authority’s (TCA) had requested. They did so with a vote of 6-0.  We are thrilled.  This victory was not a forgone conclusions because a great number of the RWQB Commissioners were new to the dialogue.

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When RWQB originally rejected the permits in July 2013, the TCA appealed that decision to the California Water Board.  The California Water Board remanded the decision back to San Diego, saying that the Board needed to make more thorough findings but that the legal basis to their original decision was sound.  The staff report to the RWQB was excellent and in the end was persuasive.

CSPF members sent 388 letters to the RWQB at our request, making our advocacy voice heard loud and clear.  Overall all the organizations in the Coalition generated more than 5,000 letters supporting San Onofre.

As always, we are delighted to be a part of such a strong coalition of protectors of San Onofre, including the Surfrider Foundation, NRDC, Audubon, and the Endangered Habitats League.  We all bring our own strengths to this fight and are so much better for it.

We are all hoping this project doesn’t have NINE lives.

Action Alert: Write an Email to Stop the Tollroad

We need your voice! Take action now and write to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board to urge them stop the Foothill tollroad at their March 16 hearing. Comments are due February 18, 2015 before 2 p.m., and public support is critical.

San Onofre State Beach Image ©Julianne Bradford

What’s Going On

The proposed Foothill tollroad, if built on the route preferred by the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA), would literally bisect San Onofre State Beach and would run through some of Southern California’s most intact habitat lands in Orange and San Diego counties. The California Coastal Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce turned down the TCA’s original proposal. Even so, the TCA came up with a new strategy to first construct the northern segment — called the Tesoro Extension — thus creating pressure for full completion.

When asked for a water quality permit, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board saw through this ruse, and refused to issue a permit for Tesoro until such time as the entirety of the project was before them. Upon appeal, the State Water Board affirmed the legal basis for this denial. Now, the San Diego Regional Board needs to make “findings” at its March 16 hearing to finalize its decision.

Our Position

As you know, the California State Parks Foundation, along with a great coalition of other organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Surfrider Foundation, the Endangered Habitats League, Sea and Sage Audubon and the California Coastkeeper, have been working to prevent the tollroad from destroying San Onofre State Beach for many years. We keep winning and then another challenge appears on the horizon. Fundamentally, this battle is about whether state parks are protected lands or outside agencies may make use of these lands willy-nilly for non-park purposes. We believe state parks should be protected.

How You Can Help

Please help us reinforce the San Diego Regional Water Board decision to reject the toll road’s water quality permit by sending an email with our online form.

Comments are due by 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 18!

Toll Road Proposal Rejected

GREAT NEWS! The proposal to put a toll road through San Onofre State Beach was rejected by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board at a hearing yesterday. This is a huge win for the park.

The Water Quality board rejected a permit for the Transportation Cooridor Agencies (TCA) that would have allowed a six-mile expansion — the Tesoros Extension — of the Foothills South Tollroad. Opponents to the proposal felt this was just the first step towards a longer extension into the park and Trestles coastal habitat area.

Photo by Julianne Bradford

Photo by Julianne Bradford

Over 300 people attended the hearing to protest the toll road, and there were 6 hours of public testimony. Incredible!

Here is an article that sums up the hearing.

Thank you to all who helped to protect this park.

Help Save Trestles

San Onofre State Beach is being threatened again, and we need your help!

Save_Trestles_CSPFOn Wednesday, June 19 the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board is expected to make a decision regarding the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ (TCA) permit to build the first “segment” of the SR-241 toll road extension. We can’t let that happen.

Can you attend the meeting in San Diego at 1:00 p.m. to demonstrate opposition to the toll road? Your presence and public comment can make a big difference.

WHAT: Water Quality Control Board Meeting regarding TCA’s permit for first 5 miles of road.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 19 @ 1:00 p.m.
WHERE
: Water Quality Control Board Meeting Room: 9174 Sky Park Court, San Diego, CA 92123

Since 2011 — three years after the California Coastal Commission and the Bush Administration shot down the proposed extension of SR-241 through San Onofre State Beach — the TCA has been proposing to build the remainder of the road in “segments” – five miles at a time.  “Segmenting” is illegal under state and federal law.  Not only does TCA’s plan circumvent important laws, this approach makes absolutely no planning sense as it will create a “cul-de-sac of traffic” for San Juan Capistrano, and would end at a road that is not even built yet.  More recently, the TCA held a “special meeting” to approve plans for the “Tesoro Extension,” the first five miles of the 241 Toll Road extension, without any public workshops or sufficient public notice.

Help stop this plan in its tracks by attending the meeting on June 19.

The Save San Onofre Coalition has resurrected the California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit that challenged the original 16-mile proposal in 2006, bringing the fight to Save Trestles back into the courtroom.

Please join this group and fellow park lovers in San Diego on June 19 and take a stand for San Onofre State Beach.

Thanks for supporting state parks!

Show us Why You’re Defending State Parks

As you saw last week, we launched our new Defend What’s Yours PSAs and awareness campaign. We’ve had great response from all of you, so thank you for getting involved and sharing these videos with everyone you know!

See the other PSAs here.

Because you have all had some really great things to say about parks and defending what’s yours, we thought it would be fun if YOU make the next video. So here’s what we have in mind:

  • Make a video about why you love state parks, or about why you want to defend state parks from closure.
  • It doesn’t have to be shot in a state park. Use your web cam if you want! It doesn’t matter, we just want to hear what you have to say because you are passionate about state parks and your voice matters.
  • Make the video as short at 10 seconds or as long as you want.
  • Don’t worry about being artsy fartsy. It can be raw and sincere and still be totally awesome. Use the Defend What’s Yours image below in your video if you want to brand it to the campaign.
  • Upload your video to YouTube and tag us in your description or post it on our Facebook page so we know you made it. (Or if you don’t want to upload it just contact us and we can upload it for you.)  We will share it with our friends and members so we can hear your individual voices.

We hope the Defend What’s Yours campaign has inspired you and that you will “show” us why you are defending state parks!