EHL responded in the media to fire risks from new development and was quoted on the plight of the Quino checkspot butterfly.
The San Diego Union Tribune covered approval of a modified Otay Ranch Village 14 project (“San Diego County approves amended Otay Ranch development,” June 4, 2020). The new project does not resolve issues relating to the Multiple Species Conservation Plan or the biological problems inherent in building in this location. It would develop land that is currently protected as State Ecological Reserve and give to the State lower quality private land the developer would rather not build on. At the public hearing, EHL stressed fire safety, as the County and its Fire Authority had covered up the huge risks of evacuation failure. EHL’s litigation against the project will continue.
Dan Silver, executive director of the Endangered Habitats League, questioned whether information had been withheld or stricken from some safety reviews and plans, saying “Any statement that cast doubt over public safety has been expunged.”
Addressing the board, he warned that there was no analysis of what would happen if nearby Jamul residents were forced to evacuate at the same time as those from the Otay development. He pointed to another expert review that said it would be impossible to evacuate so many people in congested traffic.
“Thousands of residents would be trapped as a raging firestorm bears down on their families and their fleeing vehicles,” Silver said.
The San Diego Reader also covered the story (“How to fill empty space between Chula Vista and Jamul,” June 9, 2020) and brought to light a report conducted by a consultant to the Fire Authority.
City News Service
"If evacuation from Jamul is directed along Proctor Valley Road to the southwest, traffic congestion should be expected," the report says. "This route should not be used by Jamul residents except as an emergency," a last resort for evacuation, "due to the potential for fire to compromise this route at locations north of the project."
The review confirms that simultaneous evacuation by Jamul residents was not analyzed, said Dan Silver, executive director of the Endangered Habitats League.
No community in California has been directed to shelter in place during a wildland fire – a strategy proposed with Adara's fire-hardened homes.
Silver and other critics said the fire danger should have triggered the need for a supplemental environmental impact report when the project was amended.
radio reported on the petition filed by Center for Biological diversity and Endangered Habitats League asking the State to protect the vanishing Quino checkerspot butterfly. EHL's Silver was quoted.
"By first decreasing the butterfly's designated critical habitat and then allowing large-scale development projects within its few remaining strongholds, the Trump administration has failed to protect this endangered butterfly," said Dan Silver, petition co-author and executive director of Endangered Habitats League. "To have a chance at surviving rampant development and other threats like climate change and invasive species, the Quino checkerspot butterfly urgently needs California state protection."