Sierra Club Los Cerritos Wetlands Task Force Urges Cancellation Of Fireworks Portion of July 3 "Big Bang on the Bay" Citing These Legal Grounds; CA Coastal Comm'n Staff & LB City Special Events Office Disagree
|(June 29, 2021, 8:20 p.m.) -- The Sierra Club's Los Cerritos Wetlands Task Force says CA Coastal Commission staff and Long Beach City Hall's Special Events Office are failing to apply their own legal requirements in allowing the fireworks portion of the July 3 "Big Bang on the Bay," an event over Alamitos Bay organized by Boathouse on the Bay's John Morris and held for a number of years prior to the pandemic.
In June 29 emailed correspondence to staff of the CA Coastal Commission and the City's Special Events office, Sierra Club LCWTF co-chairs, veteran environmental and wildlife protection advocates Ann Cantrell and Anna Christensen.
Ms. Cantrell and Ms. Christensen say the City hasn't followed its own Special Events conditions
They note the CA and Federal Fish and Wildlife and the Migratory Bird Act all protect nesting birds from any disturbance. "We know the birds are nesting all around the bay. Monitoring their nests will not keep the babies from falling nor the adults from abandoning their nests," they write. "If the fireworks are not stopped, SCLCWTF is willing to help ID the nesting trees and to have volunteers on Oil Dock Road during the fireworks to rescue any displaced birds. Cones or tape cannot protect fallen birds. We beg you to deny public access to Oil Dock Road on July 3 [emphasis in original] to protect any fallen birds from being trampled."
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Coastal Commission staff says the July 3 event doesn't meet the criteria for a Coastal Development Permit, but Ms. Cantrell and Ms. Christensen respond that the permit waiver was based on providing a shuttle bus for off-site parking from the (now former) Seaport Marina Hotel, but now there won't be a bus, only an inadequate golf cart. And although CCC indicates the event is free to the public, tickets are being sold for the event's block party which includes food and the fireworks show.
[Viewed June 29, the event's website says the event is "sold out" while stating "Proceeds go the charity" and "Block party ticket proceeds benefit Children Today and other local charities."]
An LBREPORT.com column by Doug Krikorian (here) quotes organizer John Morris as saying he has all the the proper and legal permits from the Coastal Commission, has put cones around the nearby trees that most affect the birds and "the birds have returned every year we have done the event. They're not exactly an endangered species."
A Coastal Commission staffer told Ms. Cantrell and Ms. Christensen that the fireworks will be 'biodegradable', to which they replied: "no one has been able to explain what that means. We repeat the statement of a leading fireworks manufacturer that there is no such thing as a climate-neutral firework.
[emphasis in original]Firework chemicals, debris, lights and noise are damaging to health and well-being of all living creatures. This event must be canceled," they wrote.
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