Friends of the Vineyards joined with Friends of Tesla Park and numerous other organizations to oppose the expansion of the Carnegie Off-Highway Vehicle Park into the Tesla Area. During 2016, FOV was involved in the effort to challenge the severely flawed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared by the State Off-Highway Vehicle Division. We submitted comments to both the draft and final EIRs. FOV President Tammy Reus attended and spoke at the hearing before the OHV Commission. The Commissioners voted to approve the EIR, which was not a surprise. The EIR is now being challenged in court by the Friends of Tesla Park, Alameda County, and three other organizations. FOV is supporting this effort through financial contributions to assist with the litigation.
In related developments, the current legislation governing the state Off-Highway Vehicle parks is due to expire at the end of 2017. There are competing bills making their way through the legislature to address the program. The much-needed reform legislation supported by FOV is called SB 249. The authors of the reform legislation are:
· Association of Responsible Recreation (ARR)
· California Native Plant Society
· California Wilderness Coalition (CalWild)
· Center for Biological Diversity
· Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation
· Defenders of Wildlife
· Friends of Tesla Park
· Sierra Club California
· The Wilderness Society
SB 249 addresses resource protection, the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division integration with the State Parks Department, fuel tax funding, enforcement, and the future sunset of the bill. While we hope there can be technical amendments and corrections made before the legislative committee process begins, this bill nonetheless represents a positive step for resource protection and rational state policy if enacted. FOV will let you know how you can help as the legislative process moves forward.
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