Opinion » Letters

Scripps dunes study is biased


UC San Diego's Scripps Institute of Oceanography claims that "the dune-derived mineral dust [in the plume over the Nipomo Mesa] is ... caused by natural forces (i.e., wind) rather than human activities." Its author publicly stated that " ... it's hard to justify reducing vehicle usage." This is the real agenda of the Scripps study: advocate against reducing vehicle usage on Oceano beach and dunes.

This study is a biased waste of time and money. The California Coastal Commission did not ban vehicles exclusively because of the dust but also because of ESHA (environmentally sensitive habitat area) protection and environmental and tribal justice concerns.

All of the off-roading area is designated ESHA by the Coastal Act. The only uses allowed in ESHA are those dependent on the habitat to be able to occur. Vehicular uses are not resource-dependent. They can, and do, take place outside of sensitive habitat areas.

Vehicular use directly affects underserved communities adjacent to the park. The beach of Oceano is given over to vehicles, and general non-vehicular beach activities are almost impossible. Pier Avenue, the heart of the Oceano beach community, shares few of the types of uses and development typical of thriving beach-fronting towns that can form the engine for economic prosperity.

The Northern Chumash do not support continued OHV use because the park includes sacred ancestral lands that should not, in any circumstance, be used in these ways.

There is much more than dust to justify reducing vehicular usage on Oceano beach and dunes.

Lucia Casalinuovo


Oceano Beach Community Association

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