More to ex­pan­sion than just eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment

The Signal - - OPINION - Cher Gil­more Ne­whall

Re: “Ne­whall Ranch op­por­tu­ni­ties,” The Sig­nal’s ed­i­to­rial pub­lished July 22, it’s true that the pro­posed Ne­whall Ranch project will pro­vide eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties – and ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion and busi­ness in Santa Clarita that will ben­e­fit fi­nan­cially came out in num­bers to sup­port the county’s ap­proval on July 18. How­ever, there’s more to the ap­peal of a city than eco­nomic growth.

What about the qual­ity of life for peo­ple now liv­ing here? The newly ap­proved, 30year ex­pan­sion of Chiq­uita Canyon Land­fill will guar­an­tee ex­ac­er­bated truck traf­fic, toxic air near neigh­bor­hood schools and res­i­dences, pos­si­ble con­tam­i­na­tion of our aquifer, and the du­bi­ous “honor” of be­ing home to the big­gest dump in the coun­try.

Now the flood­plain of Los An­ge­les’s last free-flow­ing river is to be paved over for what amounts to a com­plete new city – just across from the dump.

The de­vel­oper did a good job on pa­per of show­ing how some of the cli­mate-threat­en­ing car­bon emis­sions will be off­set – but many are on other con­ti­nents and won’t help the air here.

Plus there’s no mech­a­nism to en­sure they’ll be en­force­able, ver­i­fi­able re­duc­tions that wouldn’t have oc­curred any­way.

And how will hav­ing elec­tric charg­ers in ev­ery garage (al­though a good idea) guar­an­tee that the home­own­ers will buy elec­tric cars? And if they do, what por­tion of the elec­tric­ity will be from re­new­able sources?

Last win­ter’s rains paused our six-year drought, but long-term pro­jec­tions for this area are for in­creas­ing heat, longer pe­ri­ods of drought, and wa­ter short­ages.

How is it ra­tio­nal to build an­other 21,000 houses here, when we al­ready have wa­ter is­sues? Where will our fresh wa­ter come from as cli­mate change ratch­ets up?

Any­thing gained in eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity by these two mon­strous pro­jects will be com­pletely negated by the loss in qual­ity of life for Santa Clarita res­i­dents – wors­ened air pol­lu­tion, hor­ri­ble traf­fic and con­ges­tion, prob­a­ble wa­ter ra­tioning, and fewer nat­u­ral green ar­eas to en­joy.

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