Volume 14 - No. 3- Summer 2004

· Back to Home

· Documents that Decieve

· Success and Setback in Trabuco Canyon

· EHL’s Work Honored by American Planning Association

· EHL Supports Revised California Gnatcatcher Listing

· EHL in the News

· Poetry by Jess Morton

The Endangered Habitats League is dedicated to the protection of the diverse ecosystems of Southern California and to sensitive and sustainable land use for the benefit of all the regionís inhabitants. The EHL Newsletter is published quarterly to chronicle our plans, activities, and successes.

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Documents that Deceive

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is supposed to ensure accurate disclose of impacts to decision-makers. However, two major Orange County draft environmental impact reports – for the southern extension of the Foothill toll road and for the massive Rancho Mission Viejo housing development – mock this objective.

The toll road extension would slice through Orange County’s last intact wildlands and destroy San Onofre State Beach, a heavily used State Park. The draft EIR virtually ignores the fragmentation of habitat and the devastation of the park, and overstates the benefits of the project on traffic congestion relief. The highway would hem in a population of the highly endangered Pacific pocket mouse, yet there would be “no significant impact.”

The Rancho Mission Viejo Company proposes 14,000 new units in the heart of a global biodiversity “hotspot.” The draft EIR uses a bogus methodology to assess conformance with habitat planning objectives, and with agriculture and active recreation allowed in the “open space,” it is impossible to know what value would remain for wildlife. Thorough testing for hazardous chemicals from rocket testing sites was not performed (though schools would be sited there), and without evidence, it is claimed that the new residents will take fewer trips on neighboring roads than state standards would predict.

On both projects, EHL and other conservation groups are submitting extensive comments prepared by the San Francisco law firm of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger. However, it is abundantly clear that governmental “lead agencies” are systematically abusing the CEQA process, and that the law is not functioning as intended.


Copyright 2004 · Endangered Habitats League
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