Is Everything Fine?

A central point in the debate over whether to require Legacy Estates to conduct a subsequent Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is whether there is “new information” that could not be known at the time of the initial study that requires review.

In Legacy Estate’s recent correspondence, they claim, “the original EIR did not address climate change. That was not required in 2005, but the issue was addressed in the 2011 LACP EIR, beginning on page 4-10.25. As noted, the Legacy project was part of the LACP EIR plan area.”

While the 2011 Los Alamos Community Plan EIR did discuss climate change, it was only in connection with our understanding of “greenhouse gases” and not in reference to the increased risk of flooding and mudslides caused by climate change. Additionally, and most importantly, the EIR made no mention of the risk of “atmospheric rivers” causing increased danger.

As climate expert Katerina Gonzales points out in Scientific American, “Atmospheric rivers are becoming more intense with climate change because they’re holding more moisture. We have to make huge investments in green infrastructure, which uses nature to absorb runoff — such as floodplains, parks, and rain gardens. Our infrastructure was built for a 20th-century climate that no longer exists. More intense days are coming, and these storms are just a preview.”

This could not have been known in either 2005 or 2011.

Therefore, this is a clear issue for the Board of Supervisors; they must require Legacy Estates to conduct a subsequent EIR to study this issue and come up with ways to mitigate its impact.

Legacy Estates should welcome the opportunity to ensure the homes they plan to build at the base of the Purisma Hills in Los Alamos are safe and secure.

If everything is fine, what are they afraid of?


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