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Lockyer Objects to O.C. Tollway Bisecting Park

A proposed route's environmental and other effects are decried. Legal action is hinted.

August 12, 2004|Dan Weikel | Times Staff Writer

The state attorney general has warned operators of Orange County's toll road system that plans to build a tollway extension through the popular San Onofre State Beach park are unacceptable.

In a strongly worded letter to the Transportation Corridor Agencies, Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer said noise, air pollution, visual and other environmental effects of the proposed Foothill South tollway would be damaging to the park, which is just over the San Diego County line.

"The attorney general cannot state strongly enough the inappropriateness of any alternatives that would allow a multi-lane freeway to be built down the length of the inland portion of San Onofre State Beach," the letter states. "It is unacceptable to take away this small jewel of undeveloped land in an area undergoing massive development."

Lockyer contends that the draft environmental impact statement is legally flawed because it makes only vague references to how the loss of parkland would be offset.

Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for the attorney general, said that if the final environmental impact report does not address Lockyer's concerns, the office might challenge the tollway agency in court.

Lisa Telles, a TCA spokeswoman, disagreed with Lockyer, saying potential effects on the beach park and campgrounds are documented in the recreational section of the draft document. How to replace the parkland cannot be decided until after a route is selected, she added.

Other opponents of a park route include the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the California State Parks Foundation.

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