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Environmental Groups Agree to Dismiss Appeal of Malibu Lagoon Lawsuit

“We felt that the odds were stacked against us in that particular venue,” said Marcia Hanscom of the Wetlands Defense Fund about the decision to dismiss the case.

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:

Hans Laetz August 08, 2012 at 03:23 PM
"We felt the odds were stacked against us in that particular venue." Which venue was that? The Malibu Lagoon Watershed Task Force? State Parks scientists? Heal The Bay? The California board that decided this project was the most worthy out if the dozens competing for Prop 50 bond funds? The West LA County Council of Governments? The Malibu City Council? The Santa Monica Bay Restoration? The governor's office and key legislators? The State Parks board? The Coastal Commission? The Superior Court judge that you picked in San Francisco? The California Court of Appeal, twice? Because all of those "particular venues" ruled against the "facts," science and arguments made by these people. Every single one. Don't forget those words used by the latest court: "even facially." That means that every single legal or factual argument raised by these people, even if true and correct, still wasn't enough to prove their case. This stupid waste of time and money probably cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars. The plaintiffs are on the hook for much, but not all if that. We, the taxpayers, will pay the rest. What a stupid waste this challenge was.
R Y A N August 08, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Because State Parks was willing to perpetuate a Cover Up of its financial excesses, while threatening to close State Parks, and begged for money from donors it misled, and misled the Governor, Senators, Assembly members, and the public, IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT STATE PARKS HAS ORCHESTRATED OTHER FRAUDS OF PROCESS, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, AND CONTRACTING. A culture of corruption spreads quickly within an organization.
Jessica E. Davis August 08, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Apologies, there was a brief problem with the comment settings. I've fixed them. Thank you for your patience.
sean August 08, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Marcia - here is a few venues that you may try - the comedy store or Malibu Inn opening for Sicky Dicky. Sorry that that "venue" didnt work out for you to waste everyone time and money. (since when is a court of law a "venue"). Talk about spin
Hans Laetz August 08, 2012 at 05:04 PM
It is also conceivable that the Easter Bunny was wearing a tin hat when he fired the gunshot from the grassy knoll. This challenge was a loser from the day that it was conceived, as payback to State Parks for acing a certain environmental group out of the lucrative restoration projects at Ballona Creek. Wellmeaning peoiple -- some with legitimate concerns -- were played for fools by these losers.
R Y A N August 08, 2012 at 05:27 PM
The Assemblywoman, the one who shirked enviromentalists' less-damaging alternative proposals and distanced herself from the Lagoon's destruction, now claims to have been misled by her own State agencies. How convenient. This project is IN HER DISTRICT, and area of her responsiblity that she previously had as State Senator as well. To only acknowledge having subsequently "met with" certain other public officials that will be auditing and fixing this financial and policy-bending mess . The record shows that she turned her back against Malibu months ago when provided, in advance, legitimate concerns over financial wrongdoing within State Parks. Subsequently siding with the bureaucrats at the agencies, donor groups, non-governmental lobbying orgainzations, and contractors was her "safe" move that turns out to be a political mistake. Too bad her decision was made for the wrong reasons. I liked her. Read her diatribe of spin and feining ignorance, and acquiescene to others now dealing with this mess in her District. http://senweb03.senate.ca.gov/focus/outreach/sd23/sd23-20120806-StateParks.asp
Hans Laetz August 08, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Hey, weren't Mr. van der Hoek and Ms. Hanscom supposed to testify before the Coastal Commission this morning on their request for revocation of the project? After that scathing staff report that pointed out their errors of fact, errors of law and faulty conclusions in their request, I hope they saved the gas money and stayed home. I would have been embarrassed to appear in public ... particularly after dropping the appeal and losing all credibility on this matter. How'd that hearing go? I was 5 minutes late logging onto the California Channel stream, and missed the whole thing.
Jessica E. Davis August 08, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Hans, the revocation request was denied and here is the full story: http://patch.com/A-wL1t.
Greta Johnson August 09, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Yes. There was testimony yesterday on Malibu Lagoon. I was most impressed to see one of my all-time heroes, Huey Johnson, testifying. Marcia with Wetlands Defense Fund told me that he helped save Malibu Lagoon when it was going to be turned into a marina. He was the Secretary of Resources, and I was shown the first general plan that was created for the Malibu Lagoon State Park - it was from the 1970's. I think he said an update to that plan was needed to do this project; the State Parks Department seems to not be following the rules these days. I'm sorry to see State Parks having such trouble. But they too must do the right thing with our public lands. We trust them to do the right thing. The photos showing what they are doing at Malibu Lagoon tell me they have lost their way - at least in southern CA. Today's plans sound like someone else wants to turn this place into a marina. Why else are the digging beneath the muddy wetland soils? My mother watched coastal wetlands in Santa Cruz dig up soils like this to construct marinas here. Huey Johnson spoke up about the mouse - or vole? - that has been found. He started Trust for Public Land. I knew I was with the right group - Wetlands Defense Fund - when I saw he was there on our side.
Cece Stein August 18, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Greta, A Marina? Please question your sources and the well funded disinformation campaign, spearheaded by the Wetlands Defense Fleecing - oops I mean "Fund". The bulldozers and earth movers are not digging below the Wetlands soils!! They have actually been digging DOWN TO the native wetlands soils that were buried in the 30's when Cal Trans used the wetlands as a refuse DUMP. During HWY expansion Cal Trans carved up mountain sides dumped the fill excess on the once living wetlands which made it possible for houses to be built in the Colony and ball fields in the Western Channels area. They are finding toxic creosoted telephone poles, asphalt, concrete, truck parts and tractor tires and rusty iron pipes from the 30's as well . Say good bye to the old dysfunctional dead zones, stagnant bacteria breeding areas that robbed Oxygen from the lifeless substrates and say hello to a healthier ecosystem for surfers and wildlife
R Y A N August 18, 2012 at 08:46 PM
cc: (Stef2) Any junk being found may have been improperly dumped there by Caltrans contractors or illegally dumped thereover the years. You make it sound like it was an intentional toxic dump or landfill. Dizzy. (Keep spinning).
Hans Laetz August 18, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Do you mean that the creosote-soaked poles, asphalt, truck parts, tractor tires and other trash dumped in Malibu Lagoon in 1947 is GOOD for the lagoon, so long as the dumpers' hearts were pure?
R Y A N August 18, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Sometimes I think Hans just wants someone to talk to.
Hans Laetz August 18, 2012 at 09:36 PM
The serious question I posed to you is this: what matter does it make if the toxic crud that has been dug out of the lagoon was placed there intentionally by crooks, or unintentionally decades ago by clueless contractors? The fact of the matter is that Malibu is getting a major environmental headache cleaned up courtesy of state taxpayers, and you somehow call that spin. Your non-answer speaks volumes, R Y A N.
hellwood August 18, 2012 at 09:42 PM
immeasurably harmless compared to all of the cars leaking gallons and gallons of oil and coolant up and down the highway all summer just to be washed into the ocean. harmless compared to all of the pesticides, oil, horse crap, and trash from the upper watershed including calabasas, westlake, thousand oaks, agoura, and hidden hills. harmless compared to the chlorine from Tapia...
Hans Laetz August 18, 2012 at 09:55 PM
You are correct. All those sources have to be cleaned up. All of them.
Cece Stein August 18, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Hellwood, A healthy well functioning Lagoon filters natural contaminants and unnatural human contaminants. The old Lagoon was incapable of filtering neither .
R Y A N August 18, 2012 at 10:52 PM
The previously unidentified items you laundry-listed are like saying you took off 3 layers of wallpaper that you didn't know were there. Yes, it's good to do and environmentally prudent. But after-the-fact discoveries are NOT a basis for the overkill project to remove the access bridges and kill so much wildlife wholesale. You pro-dredging folks try to capitalize on these unfortunate discoveries as if it was planned. It hads no bearing on the fact at the time the decisions were forced without an EIR Hearing. Hans, please only respond with date and time of the Hearing, and the State agency that held it, for the Final EIR approval. I don't have time to chit chat or play chess.
R Y A N August 18, 2012 at 11:00 PM
I see cEce. How long have you known Steve? Folks would like to know.
Hans Laetz August 18, 2012 at 11:03 PM
The state knew that they would find creosote and trash because they did soil tests there. It is not an after-the-fact discovery, the EIR listed precisely what they knew they would find. Apparently, you do not have time to do basic research before you make your erroneous claims. The fact that you did not have an EIR hearing at State Parks -- but did have one at Coastal -- has been addressed and found to be legally inconsequential by four judges. Chess is fun. Makes you think. And I think I will respond to your errors and assumptions in any respectful form that I please.
Hans Laetz August 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM
"Hans, please only respond with date and time of the Hearing, and the State agency that held it, for the Final EIR approval.: O C T O B E R 1 4, 2 0 1 0, C A L I F O R N I A C O A S T A L C O M M I S S I O N. Hope that helps, R Y A N. Your pal, Hans
R Y A N August 18, 2012 at 11:16 PM
It's so nice to have someone on the clock. Primary adoption by State Parks? Or secondary approval by another agency? And I need the number to Domino's.
R Y A N August 18, 2012 at 11:30 PM
OMG. Are you with . . . ?
marie August 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
hahahahahahahahahaHA! Although, I must admit, it was entertaining reading her talking to herself. Must be slow on the 411. And Cece, if you ever actually attended a council meeting (ya know for someone who claims to be SO involved in the local community – overnight even), well you’d probably figure out who people were.
marie August 19, 2012 at 12:41 AM
One more thing, since when do “VERY HAPPY” people have to continuously proclaim and defend their personal relationships?? On public forums, with strangers, no less. If so happy, why do you care? Odd. Very odd.
Jessica E. Davis August 19, 2012 at 02:45 AM
This comment thread is getting out of hand. This is not a relationship website. It's a community news website. Please take a step back and think before you post. Thank you.
Cece Stein August 19, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Thank you Jessica!
Cece Stein August 19, 2012 at 02:51 AM
yes I have Marie and I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you. What a shame. Next one for sure.
Jessica E. Davis August 19, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Cece, you are included in the “everyone.” Please, let’s all try to stick to the issues.
Cece Stein August 19, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I'm all about keeping it to the point, we have enough facts to keep it there. I can't vouch for others though, which is how we got to this place. However, it's a new day so bring on the issues!

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