Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors



WE POST NEWS THREE WAYS:
1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

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Bush Administration Rejects Orange County/San Diego Border Toll Road Agency Appeal!
12/18/2008

Dear Friend of the Coast,

We did it!!!

After ten years of fighting the Transportation Corridor Agencies' (TCA) proposal to construct a 16-mile toll road at San Onofre State Beach, we can now celebrate a tremendous environmental victory. As it turns out, even the Bush administation's Commerce Department does not buy the TCA's empty arguments supporting the toll road; evidently, nobody besides the TCA believes the proposed road is vital to national security and the only viable transportation alternative.
I would like to take this opportunity and thank you all for years of the hard work, the commitment and the belief necessary for an organized community passionate about its environment to defeat an agency willing to spend such inordinate amounts of money to get what they want. This time, because of you, we can celebrate a victory for San Onofre State Park--a Californian jewel.

Unless the TCA keeps flailing for any rationale supporting their toll road and finds someone besides themselves supporting their proposal, this rejection from the Bush Administration seems to be the final blow to TCA's scheme to replace San Onofre State Beach with a toll road. Congratulations!!

Click here to read the Los Angeles Times article!
Click here to read the Orange County Register's article! http://greenoc.freedomblogging.com/2008/12/18/feds-uphold-state-decision-foothill-south-toll-road-dead/2382/
To read the Commerce Department's report (NOTE--LARGE FILE) : http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/images/TCA%20decision.pdf

The Sierra Club thanks our partners in the Save the San Onofre Coalition and Save Panhe Coalition whose help was invaluable in achieving this victory. California State Parks Foundation, Surfrider Foundation, NRDC, Endangered Habitats League, Audubon Society, Wildcoast, and so many more organizations and individuals who worked together to help ensure the San Mateo Campground, Trestles Beach and the San Mateo Watershed remain pristine for future generations to enjoy.

In solidarity, and with immense gratitude,

Mark Massara, Sierra Club Coastal Program

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U.S. Commerce Department rejects Foothill South toll road

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2008/12/tollroad.html
L.A. Times, 10:03 AM, December 18, 2008

The controversial Foothill South toll road, proposed to connect south Orange County with north San Diego County, was handed a major blow this morning when the U.S. Commerce Department announced it would uphold the state Coastal Commission's rejection of the plan.
Federal officials could only override the state's decision if the project had no alternatives or was necessary to national security, and the announcement this morning said neither of those criteria was met.

Today's decision is another -- and perhaps fatal -- setback for the proposed 16-mile turnpike, which had been blasted by environmentalists for cutting through a popular beachfront state park and lauded by transportation planners as vital to easing the region's gridlock.
The California Coastal Commission rejected plans for the road earlier this year, saying that the six-lane road -- which would run from Rancho Santa Margarita to Basilone Road at Camp Pendleton -- violated the state's coastal management program.

The toll road agency backing the plan "may pursue another route" consistent with coastal zone protections, according to the Commerce Department announcement. Since 1972, the department has ruled on 43 such appeals of state coastal zone decisions, overriding 14.
-- Susannah Rosenblatt

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Department of Commerce Rules on Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency Consistency Appeal
December 18, 2008

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20081218_tca.html

The Department of Commerce today upheld the California Coastal Commission’s objection to a proposal to construct a 16-mile toll road connecting California state Route 241 to Interstate 5 in southern Orange and northern San Diego counties.The commission objected to the proposed project under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act on the grounds that the toll road was not consistent with the state’s coastal zone management program. Under the CZMA, federal agencies may not issue any permits required for a project if a state has objected, unless the Department of Commerce, on appeal, overrides the objection.

The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency appealed the commission’s objection to the Department of Commerce in February, triggering an administrative review process that involved written briefs and arguments by the parties, input from interested federal agencies, tens of thousands of written comments from the public, and a 10-hour public hearing in San Diego County.

Under the CZMA, the department may override an objection only if no reasonable alternative to the project exists and the proposal is consistent with the objectives of the CZMA, or if the project is necessary in the interest of national security. The department determined that there is at least one reasonable alternative to the project. The department also found that the project is not necessary in the interest of national security.

TCA may pursue another route for its proposed toll road that the commission determines is consistent with California’s coastal zone management program, and TCA is not limited to the alternative proposal described in the department’s decision.

Since the enactment of the CZMA in 1972, the department has acted on 43 appeals, upholding 29 objections by state agencies and overriding 14.

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