Save San Onofre Targets Misleading San Clemente City Council Toll Road Lawsuit “Fact Sheet”

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SAVE SAN ONOFRE COALITION

Contact: Matt Klink (310) 283-6267

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

SAVE SAN ONOFRE COALITION TARGETS MISLEADING SAN CLEMENTE CITY COUNCIL TOLL ROAD LAWSUIT “FACT SHEET”

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Is the PR document’s purpose to hide the City Council’s true intent
to force a road through San Onofre State Beach?

SAN CLEMENTE, CALIF. Responding to the release of a newly created 'fact sheet' at the last San Clemente City Council meeting on Sept. 5, 2017, the Save San Onofre Coalition responded forcefully to the document that, at best, is misleading and, at worst, is deliberately spreading inaccurate information about the intent of the City Council’s toll road lawsuit to San Clemente residents. the last San Clemente City Council meeting on Sept. 5, 2017, the Save San Onofre Coalition responded forcefully to the document that, at best, is misleading and, at worst, is deliberately spreading inaccurate information about the intent of the City Council’s toll road lawsuit to San Clemente residents.

In a pointed letter to Mayor Kathleen Ward and members of the San Clemente City Council, all 12 members of the Save San Onofre Coalition requested that the City Council correct factual inaccuracies in the document. The letter also highlights an essential point – the exact words in the City Council’s lawsuit – that the ‘fact sheet’ conveniently ignores.

“The City Council’s ‘fact sheet’ about this project is surprisingly short on actual facts,” said Damon Nagami, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Southern California Ecosystems Project. “The City Council’s real intent is abundantly clear in its lawsuit: they want to force a devastating road through San Onofre State Beach. But this ‘fact sheet’ hides the real impact if they win: the loss of critical protections for San Onofre State Beach.”

The City Council’s lawsuit states:

“...any alignment approved concerning the southern portion of the Foothill Transportation Corridor Segment of SR-241 must connect to Route 5 south of San Clemente near Basilone Road in San Diego County.” (San Clemente lawsuit, p. 34, lines 9-11)

“The City Council knows that ‘San Onofre State Beach is located just south of San Clemente near Basilone Road’ and that ‘SR-241 cannot reach Basilone Road without going through the heart of San Onofre State Beach’,” added Dan Silver, executive director, Endangered Habitats League. “The City Council’s own lawsuit states that it believes ‘SR-241 must connect to Route 5 south of San Clemente’ – in other words, through the state park!”

In addition to unmasking the stated intent of the City’s lawsuit, the Save San Onofre Coalition’s Sept. 11, 2017 letter highlights other factual inaccuracies in the document:

  • Claim 1: “The collateral Protective Agreement binds TCA and Caltrans to a solution that would be ruinous for San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, and all park land.”Truth: The Protective Agreement does not include any terms that ‘binds TCA and Caltrans’ to any course of action nor does it require that any roads be constructed. The specific and only purpose of the Protective Agreement is to protect San Onofre State Beach and additional watershed lands located in the Avoidance Area.
  • Claim 2: The City’s ‘fact sheet’ indicates that “City lawsuit DOES NOT CHALLENGE the TCA- Save San Onofre Coalition’s Settlement Agreement but challenges the collateral Protective Agreement.”Truth: The Protective Agreement implements Provision #4 of the Settlement Agreement and is an integral part of the protections that San Onofre State Park received in the Settlement Agreement.
  • Claim 3: The Protective Agreement would be “ruinous for...all park land.”Truth: The City’s lawsuit only seeks to remove protections that prevent a major road from destroying San Onofre State Beach, the Donna O’Neill Conservancy and other natural lands. The City’s lawsuit seeks to eliminate protections for parks.
  • Claim 4: The Protective Agreement would result in a course that would urbanize existing parklands, violate local voter initiatives, and take private property.Truth: Nothing in the Protective Agreement supports this wild claim.“Over the past 15 years, thousands of Californians and the Save San Onofre Coalition fought to protect San Onofre State Beach and the watershed lands from being destroyed by a major road proposal that would have bifurcated these resources,” said Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, coastal preservation manager with Surfrider Foundation. “San Onofre State Beach contributes more than $8 million annually to the economies of San Clemente and surrounding communities. It’s mind-boggling that the City Council would do anything to harm this community asset that is cherished by millions. The City Council should drop its lawsuit.”

    About the Save San Onofre Coalition

    The Save San Onofre Coalition comprises the following 12 California and national environmental organizations: Audubon California, California Coastal Protection Network, California State Parks Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, Endangered Habitats League, Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., Natural Resources Defense Council, Orange County Coastkeeper, Sea and Sage Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation and WiLDCOAST/COASTALVAjE.

    The Save San Onofre Coalition recently launched a new website, to provide updated information to the community about its efforts to protect San Onofre State Beach.

     

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