Friends of Oceano Dunes files claim for $425,000

May 20, 2016

Oceano Dunes 4

Friends of the Oceano Dunes is seeking $425,000 from the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control Board (APCD) and the State of California for attorney’s fees and costs after winning a case last year.

In 2012, the off-roading organization sued the APCD, arguing the agency used flawed scientific practices in implementing the dust rule and failed to prove off-road activity caused an increase in pollution on the Nipomo Mesa. Friends also questioned the legality of the APCD regulating air emissions at a state park through the permit process.

The dust rule requires state parks to reduce the particulate matter blowing from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area or face fines of $1,000 per day.

Last year, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that an air pollution control district does not have the power to regulate emissions from a state park by a permit requirement. The ruling nullified a section of the dust rule that required state parks to obtain a permit from the air district in order to operate the riding area.

In March, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall ruled the removal of the permit requirement does not void the entire dust rule and the APCD retains the power to enforce the regulation through civil penalties and other coercive action.

Friends of the Dunes is seeking $420,495 from the APCD and $26,404 from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, an agency that worked to have Friend’s appeal dismissed. A hearing regarding the fee motion is scheduled for June 15.

The APCD and San Luis Obispo County have faced several lawsuits pertaining to the dust rule and regulation of the off-road riding area. It has already cost the APCD alone more than $1 million to fight the lawsuits.

In April, Friends filed a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission over the agency’s role in implementing the controversial regulation. The lawsuit also names state parks as a co-defendant and the APCD as a party of interest.


Let’s just take all tourism away from here and see how that all works out.

I’m about done with this crap. No more money for politicians, or cops, or small businesses. No more money for anything. Except the old people. And life alert. And ambulances. And golf courses. With sand. And doctors. And nurses. Oh, and homeless people CAMPING IN THE SAND DUNES.

OMG this whole thing is annoying.

I wonder how the drought has effected the particulate matter flying around. I wonder where I can see the research that “friends of the Oceano dunes” is crying about.


I hope the aren’t just pounding sand.


It is NOT the last place to ride your off-road vehicles on the beach in California. I went to Humboldt. Plenty of beach to ride on. Quit spewing nonsense. Do some research.


this issue has been going on a bit too long…………get off the pot


I’m pretty sure they can find someone to fine 425K to get the money to pay this. That’s how the APCB works right? They figure out how much money they need, then find polluters to fine.


I think it is high time to do away with the APCD, IWMA, and any other stoopid agency such as these. I guarantee you that the APCD is finding someone to screw with fines and higher fees to pay for the lawsuits they are constantly defending themselves against. While we are at it, let’s get rid of the Coastal Commision too.

Kaiser Bill

We do not need APCD in SLO county. This is not the Central Valley, LA, or the Bay Area where air pollution is a major issue.


You can’t get rid of the APCD! Look at all the high-paying jobs that would be eliminated!


Friends of the Dunes seems like such an oxymoron. Every year someone is killed while utilizing the dunes. The off road use has been contested for decades, and the habitat has all but been diminished over the years……Friends…hmmmm.

Kaiser Bill

The Oceano Dunes are the last place in the entire state where you can drive your vehicle on the beach.

Most of the Dunes are not used for offroading, including the Nipomo-Guadalupe Dunes.

If the Dunes are closed to vehicle use, tourism in the South County takes a huge hit.

Kevin Rice

Friends of Adam Hill is an oxymoron.

There are dozens of “Friends of (some park)” organizations out there working to preserve access and enhance the experience at their respective park of interest. Friends of Oceano (not “the”) Dunes is no different.

The greatest habitat impact is invasive grasses, by the way, which have increased by hundreds of acres over the years. Vegetation needs to be removed to restore the natural state. Destroying the water supply to La Cienega Valley by diverting Los Berros Creek and building Lopez Dam are two more major contributors to biological changes.

So many facts are overlooked when you make myopic value judgments.


The off road use was determined in the 60’s when an off road legislator and his friend, a Sierra Club member joined forces to craft legislation to protect both the environment and off-road recreation.

The Oceano Dunes Vehicle Recreation Area was formed by an act of the State legislature as a fair and equitable arrangement. This reduced off-highway use from 25,000 acres of dunes to 1,200-1,500 acres.

It can be successfully contested only by taking it to Sacramento – it would literally take an act of (state) congress to change it. All else is just political posturing.

Kevin Rice

Debbie Peterson said; “Mitigate, don’t litigate.” APCD (Adam, Bruce, Jan Marx, Noah Smukler, Karen Bright, Joe Costello, John Hamon) chose litigate. Debbie was right.

Kaiser Bill

Clarification, is this the organization you are affiliated with Kevin?

The list of people on the APCD is truly appalling. A do nothing mayor/busybody (Jan Marx), A trust fund baby (Noah Smukler), and our own Marx and Lenin on the SLO County Board of Supervisors, Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson.

Kevin Rice

Not affiliated. 100% support.


They are seeking $425,000, I guess if they get it Larry Allen, APCD boss will have to go 6 months without a salary to pay for it…….