Rosamond Crowder’s Speech at the Willits Bypass Protest Demonstration

1/28/13, Willits CA

Hello, I’m Rosamond Crowder.

I’ve been working with the Willits Environmental Center.

Today I’m here as an individual.

I did not organize today’s gathering and I want to thank everyone who did

I want to thank YOU for showing up today.

I want you to know that there is a Transportation Industrial Complex.

It is fueled by the mega-trucking industry and the highway construction industry.

Caltrans is their agent.

They take our tax dollars and they serve the Complex.

Caltrans knows very well how to play a small town and a rural county.

We have been played.

The agencies whose job it is to balance need and impact have betrayed our trust.

What do we do?

The legal system is slow and iffy.

It is a chess game, with the future of our valley at stake.

The story that is happening right here, right now is happening everywhere.

It’s happening in Richardson Grove and Niles Canyon.

Caltrans is out of control.

The Willits Environmental Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Environmental Protection and Information Center, the Mendocino Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Farm Bureau are suing the Army Corps of Engineers for approving this project.

This is a 300 million dollar project to fix a small traffic problem in Willits

Phase 1 alone would cost over 200 million.

Mitigation for the damage costs about 80 million.

There are people here who have worked for 20 years to bring reason home.

There are numerous in-town solutions that do not fill wetlands, impact the fisheries or cut down trees.

The 4-part Transportation Improvement Plan that you can get a flyer about here will tell you more.

All four parts together cost under 80 million.

This is what we need and it was the agency’s job to avoid filling wetlands when there are viable alternatives.

We know Caltrans cooked the books on traffic in ’06.

We know traffic is not increasing as their predictions indicated.

We know ¾ of the traffic in town is local traffic, and 2/3 of big trucks will still use our Main Street.

The groups that are in court are also suing Caltrans.

They believe that Caltrans needs to write a new Environmental Impact Report.

The last time Caltrans did a detailed traffic analysis was 1998. A lot has changed since then.

The mitigation plan is so large it has its own impacts that should also have an Environmental Impact Report.

The Farm Bureau estimates that about 2000 acres will be taken out of agricultural production.

The courts are slow.

The case does not get heard until June 7th.

The preliminary injunction failed.

The only hold up to the chain saws is the permits.

All the permits for this project are conditional permits.

Caltrans has not met all the conditions.

Two of the agencies just rolled over.

The Regional Water Quality Control Board gave an extension to two conditions.

These conditions were to be completed 90 days before vegetative removal or ground disturbing activities.

The Water Board said – - – -never mind – - – go ahead and cut!

I am outraged!  We all should be!!!

Caltrans holds two permits with the Department of Fish and Game.

They are currently in violation of both permits.

The DFG said – - – -never mind – - – go ahead and cut!

Again! I am outraged!  We all should be!!!

It is bad enough that Caltrans and the agencies betrayed our trust,

but for them to also betray their own permits is a crime!

There are flyers available with more information

Do what you need to do in your hearts.

Love our valley, love the trees and the water, be kind, and love each other

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