Three environmental groups appealing a lawsuit challenging the California Coastal Commission's decision to issue a permit for the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project agreed to dismiss the case this week.
“We felt that the odds were stacked against us in that particular venue,” said Marcia Hanscom of the Wetlands Defense Fund.
The groups had argued the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Plan is harmful to endangered, threatened and sensitive species that live in the lagoon.
In October, Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith , stating that the California Coastal Commission had analyzed all alternatives to the project and chose the "least damaging" option.
Under the dismissal, the appellate court ruled that State Parks and the Wetlands Defense Fund are responsible for their own court costs.
In May, a Court of Appeal denied the request of Wetlands Defense Fund, Access for All and CLEAN for an emergency stay on plans to overhaul the Malibu Lagoon.
The First District Court of Appeal posted on its website: "The petition is denied as appellants have not met that burden; specifically, they have not demonstrated that the appeal presents an exceptional situation presenting a substantial issue on appeal that, even facially, has merit."
Hanscom said the fight against the project will continue in other venues.
"We definitely decided it was not the best place for us to spend anymore of our resources," Hanscom said of the appeal.
On Wednesday, the California Coastal Commission heard a request to revoke the permit issued for the Malibu Lagoon Project. Hancsom and Roy van de Hoek of CLEAN testified at the hearing in Santa Cruz.
Before the hearing, Hanscom said she planned to present evidence that California State Parks Department and its governing body, the State Park and Recreation Commission, never held a public hearing on the project's environmental impact report.
“This is an utter and complete dereliction of duties by the State Park and Recreation Commission, and a message that – while the Parks Director and her chief counsel are gone now – there may be many other messes that need to be cleaned up in this agency that once had such a sterling reputation,” Hanscom said.
Craig Sap, District Supervisor for the California State Parks Los Angeles District, who plans to attend the hearing, said the agency is limited in what it can do beyond approving general plans for projects.
The environmental impact report was approved by former State Parks Director Ruth Coleman.
According to David Wiseman, an attorney for California State Parks, the State Parks Commission is not required to approve project specific EIR that is consistent with general plan.
Read the full story on the hearing: