California AG: Environmental report for Squaw project ‘fails’ on many levels (read the full report here)
August 12, 2016
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — The California Attorney General's Office is the latest entity to voice criticism of the final environmental impact report prepared for the controversial Village at Squaw Valley redevelopment proposal.
"Because of the proximity of the proposed development to Lake Tahoe, we are concerned about the impacts the development will have within the Tahoe Basin," according to an Aug. 9 letter signed by deputy attorneys general Nicole U. Rinke and Elizabeth B. Ramsey, on behalf of state AG Kamala D. Harris. "We are particularly concerned with the Project's resulting increases in vehicular use and traffic within the basin."
The 15-page letter — which is addressed to Placer County Deputy Planning Director Paul Thompson, along with the county's planning commission and board of supervisors — goes on to say the final EIR for the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan "has not adequately analyzed or mitigated" traffic impacts; further, the AG's office is "concerned with the EIR's inadequate analysis of greenhouse gas emissions — another issue of statewide importance."
Rinke and Ramsey use the word "fails" several times in their comments (for example, on page 3, it concludes, "The EIR fails to analyze the impacts associated with increased vehicular use within the Tahoe Basin.").
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Their statements and conclusions align with hundreds of critical comments from residents, organizations and businesses included in the final EIR, along with those uttered at public meetings and in opinion letters, that suggest the project will be both a major environmental and economic burden throughout the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee region.
"Rather than obliquely rely on inadequate mitigation measures adopted for transit impacts, Placer County should consider the reasonable mitigation measures that TRPA and other commenters have suggested for addressing the significant traffic impacts in Tahoe City and in the basin," according to the letter. "While roadway improvements may not be feasible, several alternative mitigation measures have been suggested that appear to be feasible and merit consideration."
PUBLIC HEARING THURSDAY
In the end, the AG's office concludes the final EIR disregards the impacts climate change will have on California and Lake Tahoe. Rinke and Ramsey ask the county to "undertake a full consideration of the Project's impacts to Lake Tahoe and GHG emissions prior to certifying the environmental document and reviewing the Project for approval."
The letter was made public just two days before the Placer County Planning Commission's meeting on the proposal.
That meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 11, at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach, with the project discussion set for 10:30 a.m.
The meeting is expected to draw hundreds of residents; attendees are advised to arrive early.
Sierra Sun-Bonanza Reporter Amanda Rhoades will be at the meeting Thursday, and will be live tweeting from Kings Beach. Follow her @akrhoades, and chime in on the conversation using the hashtag #SquawProject.
Look for extended coverage of Thursday's meeting, along with more from the AG's letter, in the coming days at SierraSun.com.