Save Our Shores is sending protest cards and CEMEX sand to politicians and enforcement agencies, demanding action
More than a year ago, the California Coastal Commission issued a “Cease and Desist notice of intent” to CEMEX, the operator of the last active coastal sand mine in the United States. The notice cited numerous violations of the Coastal Act of 1976, including “unpermitted development,” impacted “environmentally sensitive habitat areas” and “increased intensity of [mining].” To date, CEMEX has yet to comply and the Commission has yet to enforce the Coastal Act, although they have been in negotiations. In response, marine conservation nonprofit Save Our Shores developed a month-long “#SaveOurSand” letter writing campaign to urge politicians and related enforcement agencies to complete their investigations and end illegal sand mining in Marina, CA. The well-received campaign has now concluded.
Launched on the March 30th, Save Our Shores positioned #SaveOurSand campaign stations across the Monterey Bay in various stores and at community events to protest the ≈700 million pounds of public trust sand the CEMEX operation removes from a state beach every year. Each station contained the necessary tools for the average individual to make a difference. The nonprofit asked people to scoop Lapis Lustre Sand refined from the mine into a small glassine baggies, sign a petition #SaveOurSand postcard and seal it in an envelope.
Within a month, Save Our Shores amassed more than 2,000 signatures addressed to the California Coastal Commission, the State Lands Commission, key Commissioners from each agency, including Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and Governor Jerry Brown. The signed #SaveOurSand letters are now in the mail and should be received by next week.
Save Our Shores Communications and Advocacy Manager, Ryan Kallabis, applauds the #SaveOurSand Campaign results. “90% of the people we engaged during the campaign had no idea that the CEMEX Sand Mine even existed. As they learned more, their faces turned from interested, to concerned, to appalled. The experience more than confirmed that our beaches in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary are deeply important to everyone in California.”
Save Our Shores particularly appreciates the support of Patagonia Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Waves, filmmaker Ed Schehl of Raindancer Media, photographer Lilianne de la Espriella, graphic designer Rose Freidin and Surfrider Monterey for helping promote the issue as well as collecting signatures and hosting events that showcased #SaveOurSand campaign stations. The partnership helped educate thousands about “the largest anthropogenic impact along the entire California coast,” causing nearly “6-8 acres of shoreline to disappear annually.”
To get involved, visit saveourshores.org/sand and attend the California Coastal Commission’s next Central Coast meeting, scheduled July 12-14, 2017 (Location TBD). The Commission is rumored to be recommending a decision at this meeting. Public support is needed.