No gloating, just relief — the court system does work, and the efforts of a lot of very dedicated people have been upheld

WIPEOUT. The opponents to the Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project lost in court. It’s pretty much that simple. The project will go forward next June. Unless they come up with some other tactic.



For the past year I’ve been involved with this local issue of the restoration of the Malibu Lagoon. What drew me in was hearing the same sort of anti-science language you hear from climate skeptics — the same sort of “doubt casting” that Naomi Oreskes (in her excellent book with Erik Conway, “Merchants of Doubt”) and others have documented so well. I got so tired of hearing the distortions (speaking of which, I have an essay coming next week as part of a Roundtable Discussion in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists about the political distortion of science — stay tuned!) that last spring I made a simple 5 minute video addressing 5 “myths” put forward by the opponents of the project. There was also this very good piece in Outside Magazine.

I don’t want to weigh in on the motivations of the opponents — I know a lot of them feel very passionately about protecting the local wildlife from any harm. I only want to say that A LOT of very decent people worked very hard for over a decade doing the best they could in crafting this project. No one felt particularly great about the idea that part of the lagoon has to be dug up to improve the flow, but the science pointed in that direction. It was all set to begin last June until a local group suddenly began an 11th hour objection campaign and managed to get an injunction until they could have their lawsuit heard, which is what happened.

Today, in court in San Francisco, the judge basically threw their whole case out. End of story. Hopefully.

It was a good day for science and civility.