Toll Road Appeal Denied!

Bush Administration Rejects Toll Road Agency Request to Override California Decision:

U.S. Commerce Department Says Toll Road Not in National

Interest and Alternatives Exist

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ — In response to today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce to reject a request to overturn the California Coastal Commission decision regarding the proposed 241 Toll Road Extension, Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation and member of the Save San Onofre Coalition, issued the following statement:

“This decision is a fatal blow to this terrible proposal and a great victory for California.

“We agree with the sweeping decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to uphold the California Coastal Commission’s February 2008 vote against the Foothill-South toll road. Today’s decision by the Bush Administration, which has not distinguished itself on environmental matters affecting California, means this project was so fundamentally flawed even a million-dollar lobbying blitz couldn’t save it.

“Today’s decision means that key federal and state agencies have both reached the same conclusion – this proposed toll road violates federal and state laws that protect our coast. The road would destroy the fifth most popular state park and would bring little short-term or long-term traffic relief to southern Orange County and northern San Diego County. Any assertion by the toll road advocates that this road is in the national interest is flatly false.

“Alternatives exist and it’s time they get explored fully and objectively. That’s another message from the U.S. Commerce Department to the politicians behind this toll road, and it should be heard.

“While today’s decision represents a significant victory for the thousands of individuals and groups dedicated to protecting San Onofre State Beach, this long process is not yet over. On behalf of the Save San Onofre Coalition, we call upon the TCA to suspend all litigation and federal lobbying activities, and take these resources and invest them in studying reasonable alternatives to this ill-conceived toll road.”

To obtain a copy of NOAA’s press release on the Commerce Department decision, go to http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20081218_tca.html

Background:

The Save San Onofre Coalition is a diverse coalition of individuals and groups that includes four former state parks commissioners, local, regional, state and national environmental organizations, cities, counties and elected officials statewide. For more information about the Save San Onofre Coalition, visit http://www.savesanonofre.com.

The Foothill-South Toll Road is a proposed multi-lane highway that would run through the heart of San Onofre State Park, one of California’s most popular state parks. Home to the world famous surfing spot, Trestles Beach, the park encompasses the last pristine watershed in Southern California and receives roughly 2.5 million visitors a year. San Onofre State Beach was created by former President Richard Nixon and Governor Ronald Reagan more than 30 years ago with the intent that it would be preserved as a park in perpetuity.

[Via http://www.prnewswire.com]

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