After a momentous public hearing attended by thousands on February 6, 2008, this proposed highway through San Onofre State Beach was denied certification under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. EHL was part of the coalition that led the fight.

While the Orange County toll road agency has appealed the decision to the Secretary of Commerce, it must still return to the Commission for permitting under the Coastal Act itself. Along with the clarification of this requirement by legislation authored by San Diego Representative Susan Davis, the decisive 8-2 decision represents a major blow to the project.

EHL played a key role in providing information on impacts to several endangered species, water quality and surf, and on the viable alternative of widening Interstate 5. Native Americans – whose religion would literally be taken away by the road’s harm to sacred sites – gave moving testimony. Grassroots activism produced a huge and spirited turnout, and many local elected officials stood up for affordable coastal recreation.

As the Commission recognized, the precedent of ruining a state park would have been disastrous. Our coalition will continue this epic struggle.