Lawsuit filed to stop Malibu Lagoon project

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Three public interest groups filed a lawsuit Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, challenging the California Coastal Commission’s vote to allow state agencies to go forward with the Malibu Lagoon State Park restoration project.

The legal challenge also includes the Coastal Commission’s vote to allow demolishing and eliminating a popular public trail to Surfrider Beach.

Wetlands Defense Fund, Access for All, and Coastal Law Enforcement Action Network (CLEAN), which are plaintiffs in the case, say they represent more than 4,000 petition signers, including surfers, birdwatchers, beach-goers, naturalists and tourists. The groups say the restoration project would destroy native habitat, and threaten endangered species of the lagoon.

“The law does not allow for destroying wetlands in California’s coastal zone in the name of restoration when there are less environmentally damaging alternatives, and such alternatives were presented,” said Marcia Hanscom, Director of the Wetlands Defense Fund (WDF), the lawsuit’s lead petitioner. “We don’t agree that you have to kill nature to save it. Endangered fish will die; that’s not restoration.”

Wetlands Defense Fund calls for a halt to the project, seeking instead a “gentle, bulldozer-free, community-involved, genuine restoration that would also be less expensive for the State.”