After standing through an 8-hour meeting, the last few minutes of the final deliberations were the moments that seemed to drag on forever. #SaveTrestles supported held their breaths Wednesday evening as the final member of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board went back and forth in his explanation for the final decision, whether or not to approve or deny the fateful permit to the TCA to begin construction of the dirty toll road.
Tied at a 2-2 vote, this meant the fifth and final vote was the determining factor. And the drumroll began…
“I have never surfed Trestles, nor have I ever visited Trestles… but this board is concerned with water quality. We are here on our own time as volunteers to make sure that there is some control when it comes to big plans like this… and I just can’t let it happen,” said the board. Once the board member’s answer rang out, cheers erupted throughout the standing-room-only hearing to praise the denial of the TCA permit to construct the 241 toll road, that has been threatening San Onofre State Beach and the perfect waves at Lower Trestles since 2008.
“We’re surprised, but we’re elated,” says Stefanie Sekich, California Policy Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to rest on our laurels,” she continued, saying they will fervently fight to continue to protect the San Juan Creek watershed.
The evening of June 19th marked the second time this permit was denied, which would have allowed the first segment of the three-part, 16 mile extension SR-241. Sekich took to the podium to intelligently and passionately argue the passage of the permit.
“Considering the magnitude of hard work and sound science that went into both the MS4 (municipal storm water permit) and the HMP (hydromodification management plan), we believe it’s absolutely imperative that these two regulatory frameworks are strongly upheld,” stated Sekich. The HMP and MS4 benefit the San Juan Creek watershed.
Moriarty spoke to the board along with other chapter representatives, staff, supporters and Save San Onofre Coalition partners.
“It’s people caring and acting – it’s that simple. It sounds corny when you say it, but when you see it in motion, it’s amazing. It’s beautiful. It’s democracy,” says Moriarty. “It’s literally the American system working.”
It was a huge deliberation and a hard vote for the board members, but the 3-2 vote reaffirmed that even after five years since the first board meeting in 2008, the same conclusion was drawn that the consequences heavily outweigh the benefits of the extension. All of the support shown at the meeting definitely made a statement. The board room, library and front of the building were all packed full of people holding signs and waiting to share their testimonies.
After the historic win for Surfrider, Jim Moriarty shared a message for The Surf Channel audience in an exclusive interview:
“Know what you love, and engage. At some point you need to look past yourself and look past that session and say, ‘I care, and I’m going to do something.'”
Well, Trestles supporters, last Wednesday you did just that. You loved, you engaged and you cared. And because of all that effort, we collectively have once again, continued to save the break so many surfers have come to love and cherish.
Watch the #SaveTrestles documentary video to find out more information about what your children will be fighting for: