Late Wednesday night the House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment to the National Defense Act that included language which now forces the TCA to comply with the same California state laws as other developers in obtaining approval to construct the proposed toll road. The amendment, which was submitted by Rep. Susan Davis of San Diego and supported by Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County, was needed to counter several exemptions from state and federal environmental laws which the TCA had secretively garnered over the past several years.
"With these exemptions, the TCA thought they had a trump card in their back pocket, which they could have used to avoid full compliance with environmental laws," said Surfrider Foundation Assistant Environmental Director, Mark Rauscher. "This vote is a victory for protecting park lands everywhere and upholding state laws."
Surfrider Foundation and its partners applaud Davis' efforts to level the playing field and we encourage you to let her know your appreciation by sending her a note by clicking here.
In other good news word came down late Thursday morning that the California District Court of Appeals had sided with the Surfrider Foundation and other environmental organizations and ruled that a suit filed by the Save Trestles/San Onofre coalition against the TCA for violating the California Environmental Quality Act must be heard in San Diego County (the TCA of course wanted the case to be tried in Orange County).
"The ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeals is a clear sign that this issue impacts more than just the residents of South Orange County," said Surfrider Foundation's Matt McClain. "If completed as planned, this toll road project will have direct and adverse impact on San Diegans, and very likely destroy precious resources that belong to the public at large."
While these two decisions do not yet represent the final nail in the coffin for the proposed toll road extension, they are two big steps towards that direction!