Imagine your favorite spot along California’s coastline. The palm trees of SoCal. The sunny cliffs of Central. The foggy wilderness of the far North. Wherever you call home—or wherever calls you to visit —know this: It’s all at risk. But it shouldn’t be, because California has had this great piece of legislation since 1976: The Coastal Act. So why is our coast still in danger?
In short, the California Coastal Act ensures that public access and environmental protection are prioritized. At least, that’s the idea. But the reality depends on whether or not the California Coastal Commission decides to uphold it. And, as you’ve read, the majority of the commissioners haven’t been doing that great of a job, as they’ve voted instead against the principals of the Act several times (see their records here). The Commission’s utter disregard of the Coastal Act can translate into the physical loss of public beaches, the sacrificing of public access, and the abdication of the public trust.
California’s coast and the public entitled to enjoy it deserves better. That’s why Surfrider Foundation launched the new #SaveOurCoast campaign a few months ago. It’s why we attend all the Coastal Commission meetings throughout our grand state, defending the Coastal Act, calling on commissioners to vote in accordance with it and striving to keep California’s beaches protected and open to all.
A significant challenge to our efforts is what’s known as “ex parte” meetings, which are private meetings between commissioners of interested parties, most typically project proponents with the time and money to spend in hopes of influencing decisions. But state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson has offered a solution: SB 1190, a bill that would ban ex partes in most situations and force all discussion to take place in public hearings. The bill is expected to go to floor vote this week. That’s where you come in. Let’s put an end to these secret meetings once and for all. Contact your assembly member. Call, email, and urge them to support SB 1190 and #SaveOurCoast!