Meeting Overview

Crescent City
June 2024

The Coastal Commission meeting took place in Crescent City on May 8-10. The Commission took a field trip to Elk Valley Rancheria; approved a Humboldt Bay Harbor District permit application to redevelop two intake systems to support aquaculture, including the Nordic Aquafarms project; and approved a new bluff armoring replacement in Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz. The Commission rejected an appeal of the City of San Francisco’s Great Highway Partial Closure, upholding the local approval.The meeting also featured important informational presentations on the trans-boundary pollution crisis in the Tijuana River Valley and the Vandenberg Space Force operations, described below. The meeting did not result in any vote charts.

Issues voted on at this meeting:

No items found.

Other Discussions

Vandenberg Space Force Launch Increases

In April, the Commission voted to “continue” or postpone the Vandenberg Space Force proposal to increase SpaceX launches from 6 to 36 launches annually. The Commission expressed concerns about unmitigated impacts, lack of information and questioned whether the applicant should be SpaceX themselves.

At the May hearing, Vandenberg Space Force presented information about the launch program and gave additional background information. Notably, they revealed their intended launch schedule, which would rapidly increase launches on the Central Coast from all federal and commercial launches:

  • 37 launches in 2023
  • 59 launches in 2024
  • 90 launches in 2025
  • 120 launches in 2026

Vandenberg described their efforts to reduce and monitor environmental and public impacts from the launches. Gaviota Coast Conservancy presented concerns about the rapid increase in launches, as did the Surfrider Foundation.

Border Pollution Emergency Update

The beach in Imperial Beach has been closed for 900 consecutive days. Paula Stigler Granados, professor at SDSU’s School of Public Health presented a summary of recent research. The paper summarizes increased dolphin strandings from sepsis, air pollutants that can travel as far as 30 miles and a broad ecosystem impact. Granados described how heavy metal, plastics and chemicals bioaccumulate in the food chain and can be transported far away, contributing to algal blooms that pose a public health crisis. Border pollution exposes life guards to air borne pollution on a daily basis and the pollution poses a chronic disease risk. Impacts to public health can be broad and far reaching.

Commissioner Paloma Aguirre commented that there has been a foul odor for several weeks. The summer junior lifeguard program cannot be held. She requested that the California Department of Public Health make a request for support from the Center for Disease Control and emphasized that more support and funding is needed to address this emergency.