recreate and study in and near the coastal areas of Del Norte County, including
the Crescent City Marsh area. EPIC and its members are concerned about the
effects of unnatural development on wetland and marsh habitats and native
species and plants.
We are concerned that the DEIS is inadequate and will not ensure that the
Crescent City Marsh and the western lily will be adequately protected. The
Crescent City Marsh is an environmentally sensitive habitat area within the
Coastal Zone, and is home to the only recovery-level population of the federally
endangered western lily, Lilium occidentale (Bencie and Imper 2003). The Marsh
is also home to many other species of sensitive plants, and is the only known
California occurrence for several species. As such it is of paramount importance
to protect the Marsh from indirect impacts of changes to the hydrologic regime,
contamination from pesticides and fertilizers used in landscaping, and runoff from
impervious surfaces such as parking lots. Please refer to CNPS's letters to the
California Coastal Commission (September 14 and October 5, 2005) and the
Army Corps of Engineers (July 16, 2004) for further information.
Inadequate Analysis of Reasonable Alternatives
Both federal and state laws and policies require an adequate analysis of a
reasonable range of alternatives to the project. As required under CEQ
regulations 40 CFR 1502.2(d), NEPA documents must include a section stating
how each alternative analyzed in detail would or would not achieve the
requirements of sections 101 and 102(1) of NEPA and other environmental laws
and policies. NEPA Sec. 101 [42 USC § 4332] states that:
[A]ll agencies of the Federal Government shall -- (E) study, develop, and
describe appropriate alternatives to recommended courses of action in
any proposal which involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative
uses of available resources.
Although the alternatives section of the DEIS describes a number of alternatives,
this section falls short of the standard set by CEQA. Under CEQA, an EIR must
analyze a reasonable range of alternatives to the project, or to the location of the
project, that would feasibly attain most of the basic objectives while avoiding or
substantially lessening the project's significant impacts.
The DEIS fails to meet the CEQA and NEPA standards in large part because the
only legal alternative considered is the No-Action Alternative. Alternatives 2, 3,
and 4 propose filling coastal wetlands which would not be allowed under the
Coastal Zone Management Act for such purposes as a golf course (Alternatives
2 and 3) or a casino/hotel/resort complex (Alternative 4).