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 

47 comments:

Julianne said...

We have to be vigilant. They are back to oppose the decision made June 19th 2013 and it's only July!
IRVINE – Directors of the 241 toll road Wednesday voted unanimously to appeal the latest setback to their controversial expansion plans, keeping open the option for a 5.5 mile push to extend the road toward San Juan Capistrano.
"We are weighing all of our options," Transportation Corridor Agencies spokeswoman Lisa Telles said.
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board refused to give the project a needed permit last month, siding with environmental groups that see the extension as a sneaky first step to a much larger project to link the 241 with I-5 near the San Diego County line.
"We weren't, obviously, pleased with the result," Lisa Bartlett, chairwoman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency, said.
The agency insists it has no greater plan on the table than the 5.5-mile extension. Its board of directors voted Wednesday after a short, closed-door meeting to ask the state water board to review the regional board's decision.
The appeal opens another round in a fight over the future of the 241 that has already lasted the better part of a decade. It began when the toll-road agency proposed a full 16-mile extension to I-5 – through San Onofre State Beach park and near the hallowed surf spot known as Trestles.
Environmentalists and surfers mobilized by the hundreds to fight it. The California Coastal Commission rejected the proposal in 2008, after several years of packed meetings and hearings.
The toll-road agency then proposed the 5.5-mile extension. Agency officials say they have not determined whether – or how – to proceed beyond that. They have not yet lined up the $200 million that they expect the shorter extension to cost.
Opponents say the toll road agency has not adequately studied the environmental impacts that the 5.5-mile extension would have as a standalone project. That has only deepened their conviction that it's a first step toward building the longer connection to I-5.
That suspicion also prompted California Attorney General Kamala Harris to file suit in May to block the project. She described it in her court filings as a "road to nowhere" that makes no sense unless it's part of a larger extension to I-5.
Supporters of the project, including traffic-weary South County officials and union workers eager for construction jobs, have flooded recent hearings. They describe it as a badly needed relief valve for South County's congested roads.
"I will do whatever I need to do within the legal limits of the law to get the extension built," board member and Mission Viejo Mayor Rhonda Reardon said. "I don't care what traffic studies are or are not out there. ... Mission Viejo is going to be significantly impacted without that extension."

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