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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!