EHL was widely quoted on the Foothill-south toll road, fire management, development projects, and regional habitat plans. Two letters to the editor were published.
The North County Times covered issues surrounding the toll road on Oct. 20, 2007 ("Significant hurdles - endangered animals - remain to toll road" ). "It would basically push the Pacific pocket mouse over the cliff to extinction," said Dan Silver, executive director for the Endangered Habitats League in Los Angeles. "This is really the worst possible place to put a road. We're trying to save the park," he said. "If we lose our state parks and people don't have a place to go to enjoy affordable coastal recreation, then we are really killing the goose that is laying the golden egg."
In a Los Angeles Times story last year (Flaws found in O.C. tollway foes' study, Oct. 15, 2007), Silver pointed out the truth to readers about alternatives to the toll road. "In no way does this change our fundamental conclusion that improving the 5 is eminently feasible. We hope the TCA will stop using scare tactics and join us in the search for accuracy."
The Orange County Register published a letter from Silver on December 21, 2007 that defended legislation that removed special and unwarranted treatment for the toll road:
The Register's editorial fails to note that the toll road would cause the abandonment of two thirds of San Onofre State Beach, a state park vital for affordable coastal recreation. The project sponsor, the Transportation Corridor Agency, is a state-chartered agency, and it would be absurd, and contrary to the public interest, for it not to comply with state law like everyone else.
Leading up to the Coastal Commission hearing, the paper then covered the Commission staff report ("Toll road's damage estimate downsized," January 29, 2008) and the alternatives study on widening Interstate 5. "What this means is, we don't have to destroy the park," said Dan Silver, executive director for the Endangered Habitats League in Los Angeles.
Also leading up to the hearing, the Los Angeles Times ("Showdown over O.C. tollway is set," February 5, 2007) reported how the toll road agency filed a complaint with a state professional board against a consultant, a tactic designed to intimidate against participation in the public process. "This is just retribution for daring to submit in good faith an analysis that conflicts with the TCA's views," said Michael Fitts, an attorney for the Endangered Habitats League, a tollway opponent. "They are just attacking the messenger, not the message."
On February 8, 2008, the Los Angeles Times covered the Coastal Commissions rejection of the toll road ("Is San Onofre toll road at dead end or detour?") and turned to EHL for analysis. "It was a shining day for the commission," said Dan Silver, executive director of the Endangered Habitats League. "Not only did they do the right thing intuitively by keeping a highway out of a park, they did the right thing on a legal level. Otherwise, they would have blown a hole in the Coastal Act."
The North County Times ("Toll road rejected," February 7, 2008) noted that a consultant retained by EHL and other groups showed how Interstate 5 could be improved as a practical alternative to the toll road.
The toll road agency is not giving up, though, and is appealing to the Secretary of Commerce, as the Orange County Register reported ("Toll road down, not out," February 8, 2008). "The commerce department seems to have a history of being objective in these appeals," said Dan Silver, a toll road opponent and head of the Endangered Habitats League.
On January 21, 2008 ("Habitat and Development Plans Spread North, East") the Voice of San Diego covered the ongoing habitat programs in San Diego County, including a new one for the East County. EHL San Diego Director Michael Beck was quoted on the challenge of developing management plans. "It's incredibly audacious that you're going to cover a county the size of the state of Connecticut and manage species at the level of detail required." But he also noted that "There's no excuse that we're this far down the road" without some key management actions in place.
The Riverside Press Enterprise ("Riverside County, Anheuser-Busch pursue land swap," January 16, 2008) reported on a creative effort to preserve gnatcatcher and quino checkerspot butterfly habitat near Temecula as part of the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan. Silver was quoted saying, "This is an economically sound and scientifically sound solution that can put in place a reserve system in the French Valley that the community will look upon as a great open space amenity."
After the disastrous 2007 fires, USA Today covered the issue of rapidly expanding development in known fire hazard zones ("Thousands moved into fire-risk areas," Oct. 25, 2007). "There aren't any lessons here we shouldn't have learned already," said Dan Silver, head of the Endangered Habitats League, a Los Angeles environmental group that has pushed to stop development in high-risk areas.
In the following excerpt from a North County Times article ("Bulldozer scar follows fire," Nov. 21, 2007), EHL discussed protecting homes without unnecessary destruction of habitat: Michael Beck, San Diego director for the Endangered Habitats League, an environmental group that advocates on behalf of imperiled species, said that while bulldozers may be necessary to fight a fire, care should be taken in choosing where and how they are used. "San Diego, as most people know, is very biodiverse, and a lot of our species are on the verge of extinction," Beck said. "Most of these plants species are adapted to fire regimes, but they are not adapted to bulldozers."
The San Diego Union Tribune covered the approval by the City of Santee and later the filing of litigation under CEQA by EHL and other groups ("Ranch back in familiar setting," December 3, 2007; "Groups sue city, council to stall start of project," January 5, 2008). Explaining the opposition, "You couldn't fragment the property any worse than they are," said Michael Beck, San Diego director of the Endangered Habitats League. "You don't take 3,000 acres and turn it into corridors, you preserve core areas."
The San Diego Union Tribune published a letter from Silver on January 3, 2008 that responded to irrational calls for excessive brush clearance:
I believe a comprehensive approach is needed that learns from the best available science and does not destroy more wildlife habitat than is necessary . . . Excessive clearing runs the risk of establishing highly flammable weeds as well as causing soil erosion. Fire proofing structures is of critical importance, as shown by careful analysis of the 2007 San Diego fires . . . Local governments must do their share by markedly reducing development potential in high fire-hazard zones, and by eliminating dispersed estates in favor of clustered designs. Finally, as recommended by the state legislative analyst, the enormous subsidies that support unwise development patterns in known hazard areas should be reduced, and this cost shifted from the taxpayer-at-large to the beneficiaries.