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

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