The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

Off-Roading Ends Until California Park Cleans Up Its Act

Clean Water Victory at Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area


A California Superior Court has ordered the Off Highway Motor
Vehicle Recreational (OHMVR) Division of the California Department of
Parks and Recreation (Department) to shut down all off-road motor
vehicle activity at the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreational Area
(Carnegie SVRA) until they file a report of waste discharge (RWD) and
obtain a permit for pollutant discharges from the heavily used off-road
park. The park discharges prodigious quantities of heavy metals and
sediment into Corral Hollow Creek near Tracy, California.

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and Public Employees
for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed the lawsuit on September
17, alleging that the off-road park had failed to request and obtain
the legally required permit for pollutant discharges from Carnegie's
numerous off-road trails. Following a December 4th hearing, Judge
Roesch of the Alameda Superior Court ordered the Department to "submit
a report of waste discharge for water pollution associated with the
Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area" and to "suspend all off-road
highway motor vehicle activity at Carnegie SVRA, including vehicles
driving in Corral Hollow Creek" until they "have submitted an RWD and
received waste discharge requirements or received a waiver of such WDRs
from the Regional Board."

"State-run off-road parks should be a
model for promoting responsible off-roading," said California PEER
Director Karen Schambach. "Instead, they've been polluting water,
allowing unchecked erosion, and violating both the law and their own

CSPA's Executive Director Bill Jennings said,
"Hopefully, the court's order will prompt the Carnegie SVRA to obtain
required permits and begin instituting necessary measures to reduce and
eliminate the massive discharge of pollutants into Corral Hollow Creek,
as well as prohibiting the extensive motor vehicle activity in the
creek itself."

Two claims remain in the lawsuit. The lawsuit
also alleges that the Department is violating State water quality
objectives in Corral Hollow Creek and has failed to comply with its own
regulations requiring monitoring of soil loss and damage to wildlife
habitat. The park is habitat to a number of species protected under
state and federal endangered species acts.


Read the court order

Look at the violations that led to the suit

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national alliance of local state and federal resource professionals. PEER's environmental work is solely directed by the needs of its members. As a consequence, we have the distinct honor of serving resource professionals who daily cast profiles in courage in cubicles across the country.