By KAREN VELIE
The court awarded Friends of the Oceano Dunes $121,241 on Monday for attorney’s fees and court costs for litigation the group filed objecting to the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control Board’s (APCD) agreement to implement its dust rule. 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.
The court ruled that the agreement is void because it effectively changed Rule 1001 by making it tougher on State Parks without subjecting the change to a public hearing. Instead, the APCD Board adopted the agreement in “closed session” out of view of the public and without public input.
The ruling also allows State Parks or the public to seek reimbursement from the APCD for monies State Parks expended under the void agreement, which exceeds $10 million.
The APCD has faced multiple lawsuits pertaining to its dust rule and regulation of the Oceano Dunes off-road riding area, many of which they have lost. The APCD has incurred costs of approximately $2 million fighting the lawsuits.
Friends of the Oceano Dunes is a not-for-profit corporation expressly created to preserve camping and off-highway vehicle recreation at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. Friends represents approximately 28,000 members and users of the Oceano Dunes.