Wednesday, December 7, 2016



Trestles Saved Forever! 

Landmark Lawsuit Settlement Protects Trestles And Ends 15-Year Dispute Over San Onofre State Beach

It’s hard to believe that 11 years ago, in November 2005, the first throng of Save Trestles supporters showed up at a Parks and Recreation Commission hearing to speak out against a six-lane toll road that was proposed to cut through San Onofre State Beach—irreparably harming the park and surrounding watershed. 

That particular meeting kicked off what later became a historic campaign. 

That fateful Parks and Recreation hearing brought together many different local and national organizations, and, as serendipity would have it, those groups officially started organizing and formed the Save San Onofre Coalition (SSOC). The 12 organizations that make up SSOC represent millions of people who cherish the park and the surrounding watershed.

Over the course of a decade, the SSOC would create history.  This formidable coalition organized the largest public turn out in Coastal Commission history.  In 2008, nearly 4,000 people attended the Commission hearing where the road was unanimously rejected. Following the Coastal Commission vote, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) appealed to the Bush Administration to overturn the Commission decision.  But the TCA’s appeal decision didn’t stop our activists. Once again we organized! More than 3,500 attended the Department of Commerce hearing to voice strong opposition to the toll road that threatened San Onofre State Beach.

SSOC continued our winning streak in 2013, 2014 and 2015, when both the State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards rejected TCA’s attempts to build the road in “segments.”

These victories, over the course of a decade, helped us arrive where we are today – achieving a landmark settlement that forever saves Trestles!

This agreement settles five lawsuits brought by the SSOC and the California Attorney General and requires the TCA to rescind its 2006 approval of the so-called “Green Alignment” that would have run through San Onofre State Beach (SOSB) and its 2013 approval of its Tesoro Extension project, the first segment of the Foothill South.

The most significant and most hard-fought aspect of the settlement carves out “avoidance areas” that requires TCA to refrain from building or funding a road project within an area that includes San Onofre State Beach, the Richard and Donna O’Neill Conservancy and other critical open space, wildlife habitat and cultural resources in the San Mateo Creek watershed.

In addition to the avoidance areas, the settlement establishes a $28 million conservation fund to help preserve and restore San Mateo Creek and its watershed. View a summary of lawsuit settlement here and a joint public statement here.

The word “historic” is often over-used, but in light of this settlement, today truly is a historic day.  This settlement culminates a decade of hard work to save San Onofre and brings an end to one of the most hard fought, long-lasting environmental battles in California history.

This victory would have not been possible without the thousands of passionate and motivated advocates who stood our ground to FOREVER save Trestles. 



Monday, March 16, 2015

Trestles Saved Again.

SAN DIEGO REGIONAL WATER QUALITY BOARD REJECTS ORANGE COUNTY TOLL ROAD PERMITS


SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board today rebuffed the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) in its attempts to secure a necessary water quality permit for its Tesoro Extension project. The Board voted unanimously 6 to 0 to adopt findings that reinforced its decision of June 2013, when the Regional Board rejected the requested Waste Discharge Requirements permit because the full project impacts of the entire road were not disclosed to it. The Save San Onofre Coalition applauds the Board’s decision. 

The Tesoro Extension comprises the first five miles of TCA’s plan to connect the 241 toll road in Orange County to Interstate 5 in San Diego County. The project is part of TCA’s 16-mile toll road project that would bisect San Onofre State Beach, California’s fifth most popular state park, and protected natural lands in the Donna O’Neill Conservancy. If the full project is built, the state parks department has indicated it will abandon 60% of the state park because of the damage the toll road would cause.

The Board rejected TCA’s application for a Waste Discharge Requirements permit because TCA had failed to adequately disclose and mitigate the damage the project would cause to water quality and other natural resources. The vote today to adopt legal findings explaining why it rejected the toll road project represents the third time the Board has voted to stop the 241 extension project because of environmental concerns.

The TCA has spent more than $300 million in public funding for a project that has been repeatedly turned down. In fact, 78 percent of Orange County opposes building the proposed toll road through San Onofre State Beach, according to an August 2014 poll. 

Following is a statement from Elizabeth Goldstein on behalf of the Save San Onofre Coalition:

“The Board today voted to protect our water quality, our parks and beaches from this destructive toll road project. We commend the Board for upholding California’s water quality laws and protecting the public interest,” commented Goldstein.

“The Board responded to the overwhelming evidence that the Tesoro Extension is no more than an attempt to commence construction of a larger, environmentally destructive that has been rejected by the Board and every other agency that has considered the project to-date.”

“This project needs to be rethought from the ground up, or abandoned, rather than twisted to accommodate every rejection the TCA experiences.” 

About the Save San Onofre Coalition
The Save San Onofre Coalition includes a wide range of organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the California State Parks Foundation, Endangered Habitats League, Surfrider Foundation, Sea and Sage Audubon Society amongst others convened to prevent the destruction of San Onofre State Beach by the Foothill-South Toll Road.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Extra, Extra! Hearing Guide.

We are getting excited for Monday! We are prepared and ready for a long day.  Here is the Hearing Guide.  It contains logistics about the hearing and talking points.  Be sure to share with your friends!

Remember to wear an old Save Trestles shirt....we will have a limited amount of shirts at the hearing. We will have materials to make signs as well.

Thanks for all your continuing support. The Save San Onofre Coalition calculated our wins fighting this road--we are 4 for 4! Let's keep our winning streak alive and make it 5 for 5!



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Take Action. Stop Zombie Road from Being Built in Pieces
















Our last blog re-capped how "we got here"... Toll road developers want to build their road in "segments."

Please help us stop them.

Send a letter to the Regional Water Board asking them to "adopt the Staff Findings for the denial of the Tesoro Extension."

The sure-fire way to stop them is to show up in person on March 16th in San Diego.  The hearing is scheduled to start at 9am, however try to arrive before 9am. Fortunately, they reserved a bigger venue this time, but showing up early always guarantees you have a place to watch the drama unfold. Surfrider will post talking points to this website as the hearing nears. In the meantime, we have a FaceBook invite we hope you will share with your friends in SoCal.

Meeting Details: 


WHEN: March 16th 2015.  Meeting starts at 9am, but please arrive before 9am to guarantee a seat. 

WHERE: NTC at Liberty Station, McMillin Companies Event Center, 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego, CA. 


WHAT: Save Trestles once and for all! 

PS: Thanks for your continuing support!



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Save Trestles Again. Help Topple the Toll Road



Urge Decision-makers to Deny Toll Road Again.

We know, we know....you can't believe we are still fighting this road.   Yes, the same road that Surfrider and thousands of people fought—and the same road that was rejected by the California Coastal Commission and the Bush Administration in 2008 because of its devastating impacts San Onofre State Beach and coastal resources.

Since 2011, the TCA has been purposing to build the road in “segments”—five miles at a time.   Their segmentation approach is an ultimate guise to build the entire road down to San Onofre State Beach.  The Regional Water Quality Control Board saw through their ruse to build the road in pieces and denied the first segment in June of 2013. TCA appealed that decision to the State Board.  Fortunately, the State Board upheld the original decision.  Now, the Regional Board is scheduled to “adopt its findings” at a March 16th hearing.

Please send a letter to the RWQCB here urging them to adopt the staff-recommended findings for denial of the "Tesoro Extension." Help us remind the Board that the findings properly reflect the law and the negative impacts to water quality and coastal resources.  If you live in southern California, please attend the March 16th hearing in San Diego.   
 
Surfrider will also be developing materials that can be used at the hearing.  Please circulate our action alert to friends!  

EVENT DETAILS:

WHEN: March 16th 2015.  There is no time certain for the toll road item, but the meeting begins at 9::00 am.  Once we know the exact time the item will be heard, we will update this blog. 

WHERE: NTC at Liberty Station, McMillin Companies Event Center, 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego.

WHAT: Save Trestles once and for all! 




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

TCA Caught Red-handed Hiding Secret Contracts from the Public and Board Members.

Joseph Keppler

Okay, listen up, both toll road opponents and supporters.   Surfrider, and our Save San Onofre partners, have been accused of being “environmental extremists” by toll road developers, and we are amused as all get-out! 

And what is the TCA upset about?  They want to build a toll road through California’s 5th most popular state park – San Onofre State Beach.  The road would damage the park, recreational opportunities, and an undeveloped watershed.

Our position -– find good transportation solutions that don’t destroy this popular state park and important open spaces! I guess they consider everyone who disagrees with them an “extremist”!

Polling shows that Orange County residents and Californians statewide strongly oppose building the toll road through the park.  Does TCA think the majority of Californians are extremists?  That seems odd since parks are heavily used by families and generate millions of dollars for our local economy.

While we are amused, we are also slightly perplexed. 

Both President Bush’s Administration and the California Coastal Commission told TCA they can’t destroy the state park because there are viable alternatives to address traffic.  We’ve spoken to TCA officials many times about alternatives – but they just want to build their toll road through the park.

And TCA continues to throws fits about not getting their way – at the cost of millions of dollars of public funds.

At a recent TCA Board meeting, it was discovered that TCA CEO and Chairwomen Bartlett were literally ‘hiding’ contracts from the rest of TCA Board members and the public.  A handful of forward-thinking TCA Board members called Chairwomen Bartlett on the carpet—requiring her to justify such blatant misuse of power.  Here is her answer, as quoted in the Orange County Register:   

"[lobbyists] were hired to counter “environmental extremists” who she blamed for working to stop the toll road extension. “We have successfully deployed a legion of experts to counter unfounded environmental attacks on the toll road,” Bartlett said. “Now, some are undermining the will of (road supporters) by exposing our strategy.” 

Hmmmm….it seems like the TCA got caught doing something underhanded, and now they are trying to shift the blame.

So, what is TCA trying to hide?
  • TCA (Foothill Eastern) hid more than $220,000 in secret contracts to hire Sacramento lobbyists!  See the clip from TCA’s recent board meeting.  You can read in the Voice of Orange County.
  • Motorists will have to pay an additional $1.8 billion to bail-out TCA’s (Foothill Eastern) financial mismanagement and massive debts. See Orange County Register.
  • Even with this massive public bail-out, a leading rating agency still declared TCA’s (Foothill/Eastern) bonds as junk bonds.
  • TCA broke its promise to make the 241 toll-free in 2040.  Motorists will have to pay increasingly high tolls until at least 2053.
  • TCA (Foothill/Eastern) has wasted more than $300 million in public funding on their failed project – and they plan to waste another $21 million on their project this year.
Who knows what else they are hiding from public view?

If you ask us, TCA's behavior of keeping "secret contracts" and aimlessly trying to ram a road through a state park seems pretty extreme.

Isn’t it time for TCA to finally quit wasting millions of public funds?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Regional Water Quality Control Board DENIES TCA Permit to Construct Toll Road

On June 19th, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board voted 3-2 to deny the first segment of the 241 Toll Road extension.

During the standing-room-only hearing, Surfrider Foundation Chapter representatives, staff, supporters and Coalition partners took to the stand one after another to voice their opposition to the first 5.5-mile “segment” of the toll road extension. The project, which was proposed in 2011 just three years after the California Coastal Commission and the Bush Administration shot down the original alignment through San Onofre State Park, calls for the extension of SR-241 to be built in “segments” – five miles at a time. “Segmenting” is illegal under state and federal law.


A massive thanks to all our supporters who came out to the meeting. Your voice and presence made a huge difference in the outcome!  Also thanks to our San Diego and South OC Chapters for working so hard to organize the day!

As a member of the Save San Onofre Coalition, Surfrider Foundation has great respect and thanks for our partners at the Natural Resources Defense Council, California State Parks Foundation, Endangered Habitats League, Orange County Coastkeeper, Sierra Club, Audobon, WildCoast and the California Coastal Protection Network. Not to mention our fantastic team of attorneys at Shute Mihaly & Weinberger.  This victory could not have happened without all of their scientific, legal and political muscle.  This was truly a TEAM effort!

Watch this great recap of the day, thanks to San Diego activist Darren Kawasaki.


And see lots of photos of the meeting on Instagram 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Participation Guide and Talking Points for June 19 Hearing

Join us June 19th to help stop the TCA from building the first “segment” of their illegal toll road. We need hundreds of people to convince the Board to shut down this road once more!

If the first section of road is built, the “dominos” will fall and the rest of the road will be built down to San Onofre/Trestles.  

Surfrider is asking its supporters to attend the meeting at 1:00pm, and stay through the afternoon to demonstrate opposition to the road. Public comment will be taken shortly after 1pm. Here is a "Participation Guide and Talking Points" for the hearing.  

Contact Ssekich@surfrider.org or Mrauscher@surfrider.org with questions.  

Take five minutes to watch this video about our fight to Save Trestles.  Help us make an impact by attending the hearing on June 19th! 

WHAT: Water Quality Control Board
 Meeting regarding TCA’s permit for first 5 miles of road.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 19, 2013.  1:00pm
WHERE: Water Quality Control Board
 Meeting Room: 
9174 Sky Park Court
 SanDiego, CA 92123
WHY:  To stop the TCA from building the road in segments down to San Onofre/Trestles.  Bring your old Save Trestles shirts (we will have more shirts for sale). Surfrider will provide signs for you!   


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Water Board Hearing Logistics and Carpools


We have one week to organize hundreds of people to attend the Water Board hearing.  Help us spread the word!  

We are asking people to come at 1pm and stay for as long as possible.  Public comment (YOUR chance to speak) will begin after the Save San Onofre Coalition and the Toll Road developers give formal presentations. 

We will have materials for people to make signs.  Bring your old Save Trestles tee-shirts and we will have extra tee-shirts for sell.  We will be circulating talking points within the next few days.  

In order to make the trip to San Diego more affordable, relaxing and environmentally friendly, we are arranging buses and carpools at the following locations.  

LA Area:  Surfrider activists will have a small van and caravan leaving from the West side.  If you are interested in joining this party down to San Diego, contact ghamilton@surfriderwlam.org

OC Area:  Activists have rented a bus and are meeting at OC Dana Point Harbor in both of the Cove parking lots.  These are parking lots underneath Cove Road and at the very end of Harbor Drive near the Ocean Institute.  Arrive no later than 11 AM for 11:15 departure.  Please RSVP by Mon this, June 17th to Penny at greenp1@cox.net

SD Area: Activists are taking public transit. There is a regular MTS bus (928) from Fashion Valley Transit Center (click here for a timetable) with a stop right at Ruffin Road and Sky Park Court. It's only a 30 minute ride and there's always heaps of parking at the Fashion Valley Transit Center. Day passes are $5 on board the bus and good for the trolley too. North County folks can use Coaster to Old Town, buy day pass there, take the Green Line Trolley to Fashion Valley Transit Center and board the 928 bus there.

Hope to see you on June 19th

Friday, May 31, 2013

Attend Regional Water Board Hearing June 19 in San Diego.


 Trestles and San Onofre need your time on June 19th to help persuade the Regional Water Quality Control Board to deny the TCA’s permit to build the first “segment” of their ill-fated toll road.  In 2008, surfers and activists organized the largest turn-out for a public hearing in State history—and when the Coastal Commission saw 3,500 people in the audience, they were persuaded to deny the plan.  We need to do that again! This time, we need hundreds of people to attend the Board meeting on June 19th so we can shut down this road once more.

If the first section of road is built, the “dominos” will fall and the rest of the road will be built down to San Onofre/Trestles.  

Surfrider is asking its supporters to attend the meeting at 1:00pm, and stay through the afternoon to demonstrate opposition to the road. Public comment will be taken shortly after 1pm. 
 
Stay up to speed here and contact Ssekich@surfrider.org or Mrauscher@surfrider.org

Need some inspiration?  View this video of the Save Trestles campaign from 2008 when we first defeated the TCA. 

WHAT: Water Quality Control Board
 Meeting regarding TCA’s permit for first 5 miles of road.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 19, 2013.  1:00pm
WHERE: Water Quality Control Board
 Meeting Room: 
9174 Sky Park Court
 SanDiego, CA 92123
WHY:  To stop the TCA from building the road in segments down to San Onofre/Trestles.  Bring your old Save Trestles shirts and signs. We will also have tee-shirts and signs for you!