Thursday, May 8, 2008

Spin does not equal Endorsement

by Pete van Nuys

 If U.S. Fish & Wildlife had their druthers, 241 South would not be built through San Onofre State Park. That tidbit is presented on page 173 of the Biological Opinion the agency issued May 2, which TCA touted as an endorsement of their 241 South project in a press release May 5.

 In citing TCA’s press release toll way supporters shed no new light on environmental damage by the 241 South. The Federal agency conducted no new studies, reviewed no new data, took no new perspective on existing research of the proposed route. All USF&W did, basically, was take TCA's EIR at its word.

 The Coastal Commission, however, examined TCA’s environmental claims carefully and found evidence of shoddy science and obfuscation and the commissioners said as much. It’s on the record. Toll way defenders may say otherwise, but thinking citizens don’t have to drink the Kool-Aid.

 TCA rushed to post the entire 246 page document on their web site. What they omitted in their press release was the fact that on page 173 USF&W recommends “alignment alternatives that are further west than the proposed project as we believe that such alignments will have less impact on federally listed species, primarily arroyo toad and gnatcatcher.”

 But problems with 241 South effect more than endangered species. People from throughout California attended the February hearing because the future of all State Parks was at stake. In a pathetic attempt to balance attendance in the hall TCA bused in hired union laborers-- no kidding, they did-- who all wore matching t-shirts and who all left promptly when their 8 hour shift was up. Thousands of genuinely concerned citizens stuck around, creating the lopsided atmosphere of opposition which has led to TCA’s recent paranoia, manifest in their attempt to prevent a public hearing before the US Commerce Department.

 TCA is a closed, narrowly focused, ruthless agency driving a destructive project which, by design, will serve a small minority of motorists. 241 is not a “vital” transportation link. At most it’s an option, an accessory, a transportation bauble whose completion would gut a State Park. People who support it should be ashamed.

 For more reasons to Abolish TCA, see my web site.