(August 23, 2003) -- At its August 19 meeting, the City Council voted 8-1 (Reyes-Uranga dissenting) not to require environmental review of an expanded dock for Carnival Cruise lines.
The Council majority heard testimony by Bluewater Network, CA Earth Corps, and ECO-link but deemed the portion of the dock expansion (widening a portion of the pier) to be less than significant.
Councilwoman Reyes-Uranga dissented, objecting to city staff citing portions of the underlying Carnival Cruise ship EIR (previously OK'd by the Harbor Commission) without providing the full text so Councilmembers could view it in context.
Using a recently revised state law, a coalition of environmental groups (including Oceana, Bluewater Network, The Sierra Club by local rep. Dr. Gordon LaBedz and CA Earth Corps) filed an appeal asking the elected Council to review the non-elected Harbor Commission's decision to permit the dock expansion without environmental review.
The issue before the Council was to determine if the amendment approved by the Harbor Commission for the Carnival cruise ship dock was categorically exempt under the CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (i.e. if the facts supported the Harbor Commission's decision not to require environmental review).
Councilman Dan Baker made the motion to approve the Harbor Commission's approval of the dock expansion without environmental review, citing the narrow ground for review by the Council.