(November 25, 2000) In a significant escalation of its efforts to stop what it calls "Port sprawl," the Surfrider Foundation has retained noted environmental attorney Jan Chatten-Brown to challenge the Port of Long Beach's approval of an Environmental Impact Report ("EIR") for a QW Bay area "cruise ship" terminal as part of City Hall's downtown area development plans. The terminal is proposed for the vicinity of the Queen Mary and former "Spruce Goose" dome.
Over objections from LB environmental groups, LB Harbor Commssioners recently voted to certify an EIR for the cruise ship terminal. If not legally challenged, the EIR would be a major step in proceeding with the project.
In a press release, Surfrider calls the Port's actions "an attempt to spread the Port into downtown Long Beach." It further charges that by "approving a giant cruise ship dock [which] will start out with three soot-belching ships per week, the Harbor Commission has a made a step towards Port expansion that is unprecedented in Long Beach history."
In the group's written statement, Surfrider Foundation Chairman Robert Palmer said, "The Long Beach City Council must instruct their Harbor Commissioner appointees to stop this project from coming downtown. The Port should stay in the Port--on the other side of Pier J."
Gordon LaBedz, Chair of the Surfrider Foundation Carnival Cruise Task
Force added, "The issue is for our children's future. Will the Port sprawl
to Seal Beach? Will Belmont Pier become another Pier J like structure for
container ships? Or will we add sand to widen our beaches, sink the
breakwater and restore our shore?"
In a separate action, the City's Planning Commission recently approved plans for the QW Bay area cruise ship terminal. Its recommendation will be separately forwarded to the City Council for what is now expected to be a contentious hearing.
Members of the Harbor Commission and the Planning Commission are nominated by the Mayor and approved by voted action of the City Council.
This story posted as breaking news. LBReport.com will report Port and City Hall reactions as they are received.