Calhoun’s Ca(n)nons, The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA, for Sept 26, 07
Medea in Sewerville, Part Duh
The pdf file was puzzling. A Sixty-Day Notice of Intent to Sue for Violation of Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act sent to the CSD and cc’d to the Feds. The letter was signed by Gordon Hensley, who is listed as Executive Director and only full-time Staff member serving the “Environment In The Public Interest (EPI)-San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper,” a non-profit organization dedicated to “ensuring that the public has a voice with Government officials charged with responsibilities for environmental protection.”
Mr. Hensley was one of the three recalled CSD Directors and was also involved with the unsuccessful efforts to get LAFCO to dissolve the CSD after the recall election, and now he intends to sue the CSD if they don’t deal with his environmental concerns over the Tri-W site, claiming that “During the month July/August 20076, the District allowed the fence [around the Tri-W site] to fall into disrepair and pieces of the cyclone fencing have fallen on; become entangled in; and overgrown by habitat elements known to provide feeding sites, breeding areas, and shelter for the endangered Morro shoulderband snail.”
Translation? Some of the fencing around Tri-W fell down and some of the veldt grass and other weeds and bushes got smooshed and/or have grown up around it. It’s not clear from the Letter of Intent, whether Mr. Hensley is alleging that a part of the fence actually fell on and killed a particular snail. [You can download the pdf file at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com, link is in right hand column.]
Also cited in the Notice of Intent is that the present harm “. . . may include significant habitat modification or degradation . . .” Significant habitat degradation? In the ginormous mess that is “Tri-W?” Is this a drollery?
Ron Crawford, former editor of the Bay News, has written extensively about the whole sewer issue and has researched and posted documents that can be viewed at the website above. These documents strongly support an argument that the pre-recalled CSD did not appear to have any documented proof that would have allowed Tri-W to be used as the wastewater site in the first place, and no evidence to support the Statement of Overriding Considerations claims of having to keep the sewer plant in the middle of town in order to “accomplish project objectives for centrally located community amenities,” i.e. evidence that there was a ”strongly held community value” that people in the PZ were willing to pay any price in order to keep the sewer plant in the middle of town so they could have a Tot Lot located next to it.
Which means that Coastkeeper-Hensley should have sued CSD Director-Hensley long ago by using those same documents to make the case that Tri-W was an illegal site because there always were alternative non-ESHA lands available out of town, and to legally challenge the SOC that allowed CSD- Hensley to keep Tri-W at Tri-W.
Even odder is that Coastkeeper-Hensley now intends to sue to protect “habitat elements” exposed by missing pieces of fencing when he should have sued CSD-Hensley to prevent him from authorizing the contractors to go on site to begin to significantly modify and degrade the entire Tri-W ESHA snail habitat site when he voted to start this project weeks before the recall election.
But now, after the maximum damage has already been inflicted on the poor snail and its habitat, now Coastkeeper-Hensley shows up intending to file suit over pieces of fallen fence? Why, Yes, it does seem very camel-swallowing and gnat-choking to me.
And, if the CSD fails to do what’s required under law, what’s one more lawsuit inflicted on and paid for by the good people of Los Osos? Especially when Coastkeeper-Hensley could have sued CSD-Hensley when such a lawsuit could well have prevented this entire sewer train wreck in the first place by forcing the Coastal Commission, among other “Government officials charged with responsibilities for environmental protection,” to take a seriously critical closer look at the old Tri-W “bait & switchy,” back when it really could have made all the difference. Especially to the snails.
Dang!. Day late. Dollar short. Which begs a final question. Is that really Coastkeeper-Environment Protector Extraordinaire-Hensley I see on the battlements? Or Mr. Medea, a notice of intent in one hand and a knife in the other?
Better hide the children.