CEQA Scoping

CFC Partners –

As you know the southern region MPA adoption process requires complying with the CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the main element of which is to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) identifying and analyzing environmental impacts of the proposed project (i.e., the preferred alternative). Many people want the EIR to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of projects but the law does not require that. However, there may be back door ways to introduce these concerns.

One phase of completing an EIR is to determine the scope of the analysis (i.e., the issues addressed). Normally agencies conduct a scoping meeting for interested parties to share their list of issues. The MLPA staff had decided that such a meeting was not needed – we had heard that they wanted to avoid the extra cost and extra time. Several fishing reps felt scoping was required by law and we attended the FGC meeting on June 23, 2010, to tell them as much. While initially the FGC and lawyers thought a scoping meeting was not necessary, after looking a little closer at the law they changed their minds and directed the DFG to hold one scoping meeting somewhere in southern CA (the date is not yet set).

While many people will be tempted to attend and repeat concerns that have been voiced many times before, CEQA and related court cases are very specific as to what is necessary to be investigated in an EIR. Non-pertinent or poorly presented issues will get ignored. Actually really good issues may get ignored, but good issues properly presented are the only ones that may have a chance to affect the process and outcome. The objective is the most thorough EIR possible pushing adoption into 2011.

The CA Fisheries Coalition has retained a fishery science expert with considerable CEQA experience to help assemble the strongest scoping recommnedations and comments possible. We hired Dr. Alice Rich who began work today (brief bio below). As you know there are no quarantees in this process, except we’re quaranteed to be disappointed if we do nothing. That’s why we’ve already initiated this effort.

We need your help. We need $5,000 for this phase of the CEQA process. If 100 PO’d commercial or recreational fishermen can donate $50, each we’ll be there.

You can contribute by sending a check to the CFC office (1621-B 13th Street, Sacramento CA 95814) or going to the CFC website www.cafisheriescoalition.org and using PayPal to make a secure contribution. Or possibly your fishery group could pass a hat and send in a fishery contribution. Please note that the contribution is for “CEQA scoping review.”

Thanks so much.
Vern Goehring
916-444-8194 office
916-761-4895 cell

PS. The MPA fight is not over just yet, a contribution now can still have significant payoff for protecting your job and your recreation.