Rep. Huffman reports progress toward consensus on Last Chance Grade issues
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Jared Huffman today announced the release of a white paper by the Last Chance Grade stakeholder group which outlines a number of points of consensus reached on the proposed project to date.
Convened by Huffman this spring, the stakeholder group is made up of twenty representatives of diverse interests, including members of environmental groups, businesses, government and elected representatives, tribes and landowners. The group has been meeting to gather information about potential routes around Last Chance Grade and the implications of such a project on cultural and natural resources, as well as commerce and travel.
“The stakeholder group’s efforts pave the way for a permanent solution to the troubled stretch of U.S. Highway 101 south of Crescent City,” Rep. Huffman said. “While there is still significant technical information that is needed for the group to reach agreement on specific routes, this paper represents a big step forward.”
Last Chance Grade is a landslide-prone stretch of highway between Crescent City and Klamath. CalTrans has spent millions of dollars to keep the roadway open over the past decade. A complete failure at Last Chance Grade is a serious threat to the travelling public and could cost the regional economy $130 million a year. At the same time, building a route around the slide area involves passing through or near old growth redwoods within Redwood National and State Parks.
Huffman convened the stakeholders’ group to try to reach consensus on the major issues such a large project would raise. The mediator for the group, Joy Keller-Weidman, was recently hired by the federal Udall Foundation as senior program manager for its U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution. Keller-Weidman will continue her work with the stakeholders’ group over the coming months.