The Tribune reports that the Los Osos Sustainability Group has filed a request to the Coastal Commission asking it to revoke its permit for the sewer project. They allege that "the approval [of the upcoming coastal permits to proceed with this project] is based on willfully submitted inaccurate information."
Says the petition, "Basically, the information we present shows that the Los Osos Wastewater Project could have disastrous adverse consequences on the Los Osos area, including the water basin and vital sensitive habitat, and agencies intentionally provided inaccurate, erroneous and incomplete information that failed to disclose these impacts." The request for review/revoke is supported by "a 6-inch-tall stack of documents that allege false information was provided by the county and the Central Coast Regional Water quality Control Board in order to obtain the coastal development permit needed to build the sewer. . . . These include whether nitrates from the town's septic systems pollute the Morro Bay estuary; whether disposing of effluent would cause liquefaction of nearby soils; whether the project would worsen salt-water intrusion into underground aquifers; and whether the project would cause unsustainable growth to occur in Los Osos." And concludes, "The decision to allow this project to go forward cannot be based on popular opinion, political expediency, or on information that might otherwise fail to meet Coastal Commission standards for accurate and complete information or (state law) standards for substantial evidence."
And what was the response from Tim McNulty of the County Counsel's Office? "We are absolutely certain that there was no intent on anyone's part to provide that type of information. Under these circumstances, a project-delaying suspension is quite improbable."
And why would that be? Well, because "The petitioners must prove that information was inaccurate, that it was knowingly submitted and that the information changed the outcome of the commission's decisions."
Doncha love it?. It's not enough that the information may be factually incorrect, i.e. that the numbers are wrong, that doing X will result in disaster Y, the bridge will fall because you've transposed weight bearing numbers, the dam will collapse because you added the numbers wrong. No. That's not the key thing here. What's key is that you INTENTIONALLY gave the Commission the wrong numbers. That you MEANT to fudge the numbers, nudge the numbers, make the numbers smiley-faced, happy numbers so as to get whatever permit you're after. The fact of their wrongness isn't enough to get the Commission to back off and double-check. Nope. You have to prove intention.
And, of course, your correct numbers have to be sufficient to have caused the Commissioners to change their minds, which is a really high bar because nobody on the face of the earth believes that the Commissioners wouldn't have approved that sewer, no matter how fudged the numbers were.
Once again, we're back in Alice in Wonderland Land: actual facts don't matter much. Intention, not mere incompetence, trumps all. "Yes, the numbers are wrong and the bridge will collapse. But, we're not going to change the plans since the Engineer didn't mean to add them up wrong."
Meanwhile, Back On The Old SewerWatch
Ron Crawford, at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com, has also written a letter to the Coastal Commission on a similar issue. And posted that letter. He's having way too much fun and this letter will be a delight for careful Sewer Watchers -- it's sly, and funny. And if you read his response to a blog comment, you'll see the further comic possibilities in his original letter. Sauce for goose and gander. After all, if "park amenities" were so critical, such a vital, overriding "community held value" for which the TRI-W defenders fought so ferociously, then here's the chance to get those park amenities back from the very Coastal Commission and Commissioner(s) who originally approved them.
Talk about Win Win.