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U.S. EPA SAYS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EVALUATION IS INADEQUATE

 SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that it has rated as inadequate a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for a proposed residential development in the Bolsa Chica wetlands near Huntington Beach, the third largest remaining coastal wetland area in Southern California.
 "After careful deliberation we have rated the draft environmental impact statement inadequate because the document lacks information necessary to assess the full scope of environmental impacts to the area," said Daniel W. McGovern, U.S. EPA's regional administrator. "We are concerned about development in the Bolsa Chica wetlands, and the fact that the developer has not thoroughly looked at alternative sites for construction of the project, as required by federal law."
 U.S. EPA concludes that the DEIS does not adequately explain the need to build a 4,884 unit single-family residential project in a wetlands area. The Clean Water Act (CWA) requires that a developer look at the feasibility of building on sites other than wetland areas when considering construction of a project. U.S. EPA believes that the DEIS does not demonstrate compliance with the CWA, the Clean Air Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
 U.S. EPA recommends that the Corps prepare a revised DEIS to address several important environmental issues which include:
 -- About 145 acres of the estimated 920 acres of the Bolsa
 Chica wetlands would be permanently destroyed. A mitigation
 plan developed by Landmark Corp., the developer of the
 proposed project, is inadequate in explaining how marsh
 restoration would take place;
 -- There are several endangered species at Bolsa Chica,
 including the California least tern, California brown
 pelican, and the light-footed clapper rail, as well as
 numerous candidate and proposed species. However, because
 consultation between the Corps of Engineers and the
 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not been completed, it is not
 known what impact the development will have on these
 species; and,
 -- The project would cause significant air pollution and it
 appears that carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions
 associated with the project would delay attainment of the
 national health-based air quality standards. The DEIS did
 not identify adequate measures to mitigate or offset the
 increases in air pollution.
 Federal agencies are required to prepare environmental impact statements on major federal actions which will significantly affect the environment.
 -0- 12/18/92
 /CONTACT: Lois Grunwald of the U.S. EPA, 415-744-1588/


CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Army ST: California IN: SU:

TM -- SF007 -- 8399 12/18/92 16:40 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 18, 1992
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