After a marathon 14-hour session, the California Coastal Commission voted 8-2 to oppose a planned toll road in Orange County after finding it was inconsistent with California coastal law. The ruling was a pivotal decision for both proponents and opponents of the project, and will likely play a significant role in the final outcome of whether or not the road is allowed to be built through the San Mateo Creek Watershed and San Onofre State Beach Park.
“We are elated that the California Coastal Commission supported their staff’s recommendation and ruled this project inconsistent with the state’s Coastal Act,” said Surfrider Foundation CEO Jim Moriarty.
An estimated 3500 people attended Wednesday’s hearing; the largest such draw in the Coastal Commission’s 30 year history. Mobilizing their grassroots network of volunteer activists, the Surfrider Foundation and their partners were able to rally over 2000 protesters to the event, many of whom stayed the entire 14 hours. The crowd, which was comprised of a diverse cross-section of beach users including surfers, students, families, seniors, fishermen and others, were joined by a large number of Native American tribal representatives. On hand as well was a massive contingent from the surf industry, including various manufacturers, shapers, media representatives and pro athletes.
“Our supporters have logged countless volunteer hours on this campaign over the last several years,” said Moriarty. “Last night’s decision was an incredible affirmation for their efforts, and a testament to the power of grassroots activism.”
The Surfrider Foundation will now direct its efforts towards similarly blocking the remaining permits and approvals for the project.
For more information on this campaign, go to the Save Trestles website.