Thursday, May 13, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on October 14th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 33 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 33

We need a moratorium on dunes vehicle operations

By Lucia Casalinuovo, Oceano Beach Community Association

California Coastal Commission and State Parks were supposed to review the final draft of the public works plan for Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA) on Oct. 15. Unsurprisingly, the public works plan is not ready, and the meeting has been canceled. The public works plan has been an excuse for State Parks to gain time and keep running the ODSVRA as always. 

There is only one reasonable, equitable way to proceed: Let State Parks delay as long as it wants while ODSVRA remains closed until State Parks presents a new management plan in compliance with the Coastal Commission’s requirements. 

The Coastal Commission would never have tolerated any other business’s defiance of the law as it has tolerated State Parks’. In a similar situation, the Coastal Commission would have imposed a moratorium until compliance had been achieved. 

Coastal Commission staff’s intended recommendations for the October hearing were to phase out off-highway vehicle use over the next five years, close Pier Avenue to beach vehicle access, and forbid driving south of Pier Avenue. This proposal would meet the Coastal Commission’s requirements and solve air quality and environmental-justice issues. An immediate moratorium on ODSVRA operations would certainly prompt State Parks to work more actively on complying with the Coastal Commission’s requirements. 

Climate change is causing wildfires, heat waves, sea level rise, and bad air quality. The activities at the ODSVRA produce carbon dioxide emissions and destroy the beach and foredunes, exposing Oceano to inundation. Phasing out off-highway vehicle use is a step toward alleviating climate change. We request a moratorium on ODSVRA’s activities. 

Lucia Casalinuovo
president, Oceano Beach Community Association

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