| For Immediate Release: June 13, 2006
Condos Blocked on Big Bear Lake
Judge Rules Lakeside Development Violated
Los Angeles, Calif. – A federal judge entered a ruling and order late yesterday afternoon in a long-running lawsuit over a planned condominium complex on the shores of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains. Judge Manuel Real in Los Angeles agreed with two conservation groups that the developers repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act in moving forward with their condominium development, known as Marina Point.
The court also ruled that the condos, if built, would harm bald eagles in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The court halted all development of the project, ordered the developer to pay a fine of $1,312,500, and ordered the developer to immediately repair and restore the damaged shoreline of Big Bear Lake and its adjacent wetlands.
“We’re thrilled,” said Sandy Steers of Friends of Fawnskin, a community organization that has led the fight against the condominiums. “This has been an amazingly long struggle, but we knew we had to stick with it for the sake of the eagles and for the sake of Big Bear Lake.”
“We believe that, after careful consideration of a massive amount of evidence, the court reached the correct conclusion,” said Bernice Conn and Michael Geibelson of Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. “We're proud to have helped preserve precious natural resources and wildlife and to have had the opportunity to represent these two organizations in their efforts to protect Big Bear Lake and the bald eagle.”
“Big Bear Lake still has its iconic bald eagles, but just barely,” said Adam Keats, Staff Attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “For their health and the lake's health – and so that children of future generations will also be able to witness bald eagles on Big Bear Lake – we need to come to grips with the fact that projects like this, with its intensive lakeshore development, are inappropriate. This opinion recognizes that fact.”