SB County Active Transportation Plan

  CLAWS is proud to participate with the Santa Barbara County Active Transportation Plan  

Clean Air Act Gutted

"Judicial Activism Kneecaps the #CleanAirAct" written by CLAWS counsel and #SantaBarbara environmental lawyer Marc Chytilo, in the @SBIndyNews #EPA #ClimateChange #JudicialActivism

CLAWS says "Close Diablo" with Mothers for Peace and 67 orgs

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant, Creative Commons usage, by Tracey Adams CLAWS says NO to Diablo Committees for Land, Air, Water and Species (CLAWS) signed on to the letter sent by Jane Swanson of Mothers for Peace, along with 66 other groups, to reiterate that the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant must be closed, on schedule and as planned. It's overdue and seriously unsafe.  We were delighted to see the media release sent by Mothers for Peace get picked up, with features in the New York Times as well as Associated Press. Here's the news: 67 Organizations Push Back Against Efforts to Extend Operation of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant  In response to Governor Newsom’s suggestion to extend the operating life of Diablo Canyon nuclear facility beyond its planned closure dates of 2024 and 2025, 67 organizations from across the country sent him a letter of protest on May 17, 2022. Jane Swanson of Mothers for Peace states, “There is nothing smart about continuing to operate Diablo Canyon beyond its current licenses. It is old, dirty, dangerous, and expensive! Let’s invest California’s surplus money in clean and safe energy resources, conservation, and efficiency.”   Continue reading

Hoop Houses

         Santa Barbara County: how will it be with Hoop Houses? CLAWS has recently taken action to promote a reasoned and appropriate program for managing agricultural hoop houses in Santa Barbara County   The use of hoop houses for agricultural operations in Santa Barbara County has been increasing substantially in recent years. Hoop Houses offer potential benefits of reduced water use, reduced or avoided pesticide use, improvement in worker conditions and increased agricultural productivity, but have a significant aesthetic impact when large areas are covered and generate large volumes of plastic waste. When abandoned in place, hoop houses contribute to litter as the plastic degrades and is blown off-site. CLAWS believes hoop houses offer benefits but have impacts, and as such, should be subject to standards for their use, and, when they can cause significant impacts, be subject to a reasonable regulatory system administered by the County.   Continue reading

Lompoc yard

CLAWS Sends Notice of Intent to Sue in Federal Court Over the City of Lompoc’s 15 Year Water Pollution Problem The Committees for Land, Air, Water and Species (CLAWS) today sent formal notice of its intent to file a federal Clean Water Act action against the City of Lompoc unless officials commit to fixing water pollution problems at the City’s Corporate Yard. “The City has known about serious water pollution problems, including heavy metals, at the Yard for a very long time. Compared to data from 2003, water pollution tests in 2017 show virtually no change in contaminant discharges to San Miguelito Creek, the Santa Ynez River and estuary, and ultimately the Pacific Ocean,” said Board President Michael Gibian. “CLAWS decided to take this taken action because the City appears unwilling to fix obvious problems on its own,” he lamented. The Clean Water Act’s objectives are to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” To this end, the Act prohibits the Corporate Yard from discharging pollutants except in compliance with California’s Industrial Stormwater Permit.[1]  California’s permit is a flexible regulatory instrument that relies almost exclusively on self-implementation and self-regulation.  Facilities are not subject to legal enforcement for one, or even two years, of polluted discharges, so long as the operators are making genuine attempts to identify and fix problems. “We were surprised to find that the City has been self-reporting major pollution problems to the State for at least the last 15 years.  The data tell a clear story,” said attorney Jesse Swanhuyser of Anacapa Law Group, Inc, “officials have not taken the problem seriously. We hope to work with the City to avoid spending taxpayer monies on litigation, and instead focus on getting the Yard ship-shape before rain falls next winter. The fixes in this situation are likely inexpensive and easy to implement.”   Continue reading

Comment on Revised EIR

Please submit a comment to CalTrans      The deadline to submit a comment on Caltrans’ draft revised environmental impact report on the Highway 101 widening project is this Tuesday, January 31. Click here to go to CLAWS’ comment page and submit your comment directly and automatically to Caltrans. The Highway 101 widening project will have lasting and irrevocable impacts on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. Caltrans has failed miserably to disclose and describe the project’s impacts, despite CEQA’s clear legal requirements and Judge Anderle’s direction in his December 2015 ruling.  Continue reading

Judge Rejects 101 Widening Project EIR

  JUDGE REJECTS 101 WIDENING PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT Committees for Land, Air, Water and Species The $435M 101 Widening Project is the largest public works project in recent County history, and will have a significant impact on the future face of the South Coast. Caltrans prepared an EIR that concluded there would be no significant impacts from the project, thus there was no need to avoid or mitigate the project’s impacts. Caltrans’ own traffic studies, however, found that the project would directly cause excessive congestion at nine intersections and cumulatively impact fifteen intersections from Carpinteria to Goleta. This project-induced congestion would exceeds Caltrans’ own thresholds of significance for the identification of significant impacts, and yet Caltrans failed to address the issue in its draft EIR. The City of Santa Barbara would experience the greatest number of significantly impacted intersections. According to Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) correspondence, local agencies tally the cost of improving some of the intersections to accommodate project impacts at $110M. Judge Anderle ruled that the EIR’s flawed analysis of traffic impacts was “an abdication of Caltrans’ responsibility.” His ruling explained that, in applying a flawed analysis that “categorically ignored potentially significant intersection impacts and designated them “tradeoffs” for project benefits, Caltrans simply erased [the impacts] from existence, rather than truly evaluating intersection impacts”. The EIR “utterly failed in its informational function.” [Quotes from pages 34-35 of the “Excerpted Ruling”.] Continue reading