After over a year of attempting to obtain written confirmation, it was finally determined that the San Diego Unified School District did not complete an environmental analysis, as required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Any project undertaken by a public agency which has a direct physical change in the environment, like the installation of a tire crumb field, must complete an environmental analysis under the law or document that there is an exemption in the law. At a minimum, an initial review of the project and its environmental effects must be conducted. Depending on the potential effects, a further, and more substantial review may be conducted in the form of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which includes an opportunity for public comment and participation.
In the case of the tire crumb turf fields installed throughout the District, including the one installed at Silver Gate Elementary, the law was ignored and no such environmental analysis was conducted. A local environmental attorney, who has been supporting ongoing discussions with the District, has agreed to take this case pro bono. The filing fees will initially cost $600 and we are asking for your help in raising the funds necessary. There could also be additional fees such as clerical/copies, travel, appeals. Our intention is to demand that the District comply with the law and be compelled to complete a full Environmental Impact Report that includes impacts on air quality, storm water quality, as well as the health and safety of our children.
The EPA, CDC, and Consumer Product Safety Commission, launched a comprehensive study into the safety of tire crumb rubber in February of 2016. The latest status of this report can be found in the link below. Data from the studies will not be available until sometime in 2017.
San Diego Unified School District Board Members and Superintendent have been informed of the environmental and health/safety concerns of these fields multiple times, over the years, by multiple parents, community members, and lawyers. They have not chosen the 'Precautionary Principle' as a school district should in regards to their students health/safety and the environment. Therefore, they should be held accountable for this.
Not only are these turf fields an environmental and health concern, but they are also a financial risk for a large public entity using tax payers dollars/school bond money.
If this lawsuit is won, then the proper fees will be paid by the District to the attorney, and the District will need to perform all proper environmental reviews on existing fields and new installations. We are hopeful that this lawsuit will put pressure on the District to stop further installations of artificial turf fields and start using sustainable real grass again. Real grass is proven to be more environmentally friendly, cost effective, and safer for our children to play on. LA Unified banned crumb rubber fields years ago and they are a larger district than SDUSD.
Your support for the environment, the health and safety of our children while at school, and tax payers dollars is greatly appreciated. Thank you.